Joy of Life - Chapter 468[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:49:17]
Chapter 468: The Small One Is In The Shoe
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Fan Xian saw the girl and wanted to run. Pulling on Hongcheng’s sleeve, he prepared for the two of them to jump over the wall. Unexpectedly, a servant appeared out of nowhere and bowed to the two of them with a pained expression. “Young master, the King knows you’ve come out and asks that you go see him.”
Hearing these words, the heir Li Hongcheng sucked in a cold breath. He was extremely distressed and regretful, but there was nothing he could do. So, he went first. Before he walked away, he glanced at Fan Xian and gave a bitter laugh. The emotions inside were unspeakably complicated.
Fan Xian understood that this young master still held a grudge against him for breaking his and Ruoruo’s marriage. However, he could do nothing in this matter but shake his head.
By the stone steps outside the garden, there was just him and Rou Jia. Fan Xian knew that he could not run anymore and smiled warmly. He looked at Hongcheng’s retreating figure and said, “Your brother was once such a refined and cultured young man. How could he be like this now?”
Rou Jia saw that he was opening his mouth to speak again and she couldn’t stop the joy rising in her face. With a slight stutter, she said, “Shut up…too long…cursing every day…more and more like father.”
Fan Xian started and thought that this was indeed the case. Looking at the heir through the crack in the door had not flattened his image. Instead, he had seen a tolerance and ability to let go that was unlike others in power. This kind of temperament was inherited from King Jing. In the so-called battle, to be able to win and to suffer losses was the correct principle.
He made a hand gesture to invite the princess to walk first.
Rou Jia pulled her skirt beneath her red coat and lowered her head shyly as she slowly walked in front.
Fan Xian followed behind her. As he walked, he evaluated this gradually blooming girl. He looked at the fine threads of her hair at her temples blowing in the wind and felt his heart move a little.
“Sister Rou Jia, has there been anything new in the field of women’s studies?”
“Brother Xia, there hasn’t.”
“Sister Rou Jia…”
The two of them chatted back and forth casually. “Sister Rou Jia” came more and more naturally to his mouth, and the girl’s “Brother Xian” also never stopped. They walked slowly toward the front of the manor like this. Along the way, they passed the cold garden, icy footpath, pavilion with residue snow, and depressions in the rock garden that had accumulated puddles of water.
Princess Rou Jia walked with her head lowered and replied in a quiet voice, but she couldn’t resist glancing at Fan Xian occasionally and then immediately turning her head back in surprise.
Fan Xian sighed in his heart and quickened his steps, catching up to her and walking shoulder to shoulder with her.
Princess Rou Jia felt the existence of the young man beside her and was greatly surprised. Her entire walking posture became stiffer, and her fingers squeezed her dress with slight force.
Fan Xian smiled and said, “This world sure is strange. At the time, who would have thought that you were my cousin? This call of ‘Brother Xian’ is certainly very apt.”
Once this was said, Princess Rou Jia’s heart was in a panic. Her face blushed red. She didn’t say anything more, only stayed silent.
This pair of cousins both understood what these words of Fan Xian’s meant—Qing Law was written very clearly. Given their relationship, regardless of whether or not Fan Xian had the intention, it would still be impossible.
After Princess Rou Jia saw Fan Xian for the first time when she was 12, her heart had entirely been given over to him. Regardless of whether she was under the grapevines in the manor, in Fan manor’s autumn garden, or the courtyard in Cang Mountain, she always liked to see Fan Xian.
The feelings of the girl did not abate after Fan Xian’s marriage. Although she did not dare ask her father, she always hoped that there was a possibility of there being a special case of having two wives. However, who knew that such an explosive piece of news would appear in Jingdou—Brother Xian was actually her cousin.
From that day on, Rou Jia knew this matter was impossible. However, it was impossible for two years of emotion to fade in one night. After seeing her most beloved Brother Xian, she panicked. Hearing Fan Xian speak this at this moment, she knew that he was reminding her.
However, Princess Rou Jia was, after all, only a 14-year-old girl. After hearing Fan Xian’s gentle and stern reminder, she did not, like other noble girls in Jingdou, turn her head and glare at him with a hidden bitterness or huff coldly. She only lowered her head even more and became even less willing to talk.
A sparkling and pure teardrop rolled down from her long lashes and splashed onto the mossy stones beside her feet.
Fan Xian was stupefied. Once he saw a girl cry, he didn’t know what to do.
Rou Jia walked forward again, and Fan Xian quickly followed behind.
All along the way, Rou Jia cried with her head down, but she stubbornly bit her lip and absolutely refused to make any sound.
Fan Xian pitied her, loved her, and was angry with her. Just as he wasn’t sure how to resolve this, he suddenly realized that Rou Jia had stopped walking and turned her head to look at him very seriously.
Fan Xian smiled and stretched out his finger to wipe away the tears on the girl’s face.
Rou Jia was still as gentle and agreeable as before. She gazed steadily at Fan Xian and hesitantly said, “Brother Xian, I want to ask something of you.”
“What is it? As long as it is within my power,” Fan Xian said seriously.
“I know that…it was you who thought of a way to break off Sister Ruoruo and brother’s wedding.” Rou Jia lowered her head. Her finger twirled the material of her skirt, making countless irritating wrinkles in one corner of the pink skirt.
Fan Xian was surprised. He hadn’t thought that the girl would have seen through this matter so clearly. “What about it?”
Rou Jia gave a leisurely bow. In a thin and still childish voice, she said, “In the future, the Palace will certainly arrange a marriage for me…if I’m not willing, I’ll have to trouble you.”
The marriages between the nobility in Jingdou involved too many political transactions. Fan Xian’s marriage, and Ruoruo’s unsuccessful marriage, were all like this. Given Princess Rou Jia’s identity, her marriage would be arranged by the noble people in the Palace or even personally arranged by the empress dowager.
Fan Xian opened his mouth wide, but, a moment later, he nodded his head very dejectedly. He knew that he had been forced to shoulder another heavy burden. This world was truly very strange. Everyone else was being matchmakers, while he had somehow become an expert in breaking marriages.
After Rou Jia had said this and saw him nod his head, it was as if she had used up all the courage she had gathered on the walk earlier. Her entire person immediately became uncomfortable again. She looked at him deeply then turned her head, picked up her skirt, and walked faster toward the front of the manor, not paying any more attention to Fan Xian.
Behind her, Fan Xian rubbed the back of his head and looked at her retreating figure. He watched as she lowered her head and continued to cry without sound. He truly felt unhappy in his heart, thinking, Girls. Each was truly more troublesome than the last.
The long corridor behind Taiji Palace in the Royal Palace distantly faced the rear of the tall Palace walls and winter trees below the wall. The Palace was tightly guarded. Close to where the inner palace was, it was strictly prohibited for people to make a racket. It was even more impossible for someone to do anything too presumptuous.
However, when the serving girls and eunuchs passing through saw who the young official was—stretching his back and doing other stretching exercises in the long corridor—no one dared go forward to berate him and or remind him of anything.
It was impossible for there to be any young officials in the inner palace. If there was, then it had to be that one person. Only he would be so relaxed and at ease in the Royal Palace.
In the long corridor, the young official finally retracted the leg he was stretching from the large round column. He turned his head to look at the awkward middle-aged eunuch, who wanted to laugh but did not dare to do so, and scolded, “What’s there to smile about? This Palace is so big, of course, my legs would hurt. I don’t know how you guys all have such good legs and feet.”
Naturally, this young official was Fan Xian. The matter of him being the illegitimate child of the Emperor was known to the world. In addition, over these years, he had been heavily favored by the Emperor and had harmonious relationships with the various nobility and eunuchs in the Palace. He had once recovered from an injury for a month in the Palace, so the serving girls and eunuchs were all used to his existence in the Palace.
Also, only he had the boldness to broadcast gymnastics inside the Palace.
He was accompanying Wan’er back to her mother’s palace. However, they had just entered the Palace when Wan’er was held back by the empress dowager, who refused to let her leave again. She said she was going to have her favorite granddaughter stay the night. Fan Xian had no choice and could only take the various gifts and head toward the various palaces. After returning to the capital, where he had already paid a visit, he now had to do it again. It was truly irritating. Thus, he took a break and rested his feet in the long corridor behind Taiji Palace.
The eunuch accompanying him, holding a big pile of gift boxes, was Eunuch Dai. He heard Fan Xian cursing at him. Instead of being surprised, he was cheerful and said with a chuckle, “Sir Fan junior is a ninth-level ace, how could us servants compare?”
Eunuch Dai was also once greatly in the Emperor’s favor. Although he belonged to Lady Shu’s palace, when it came to announcing imperial edicts in the various manors and any urgent tasks, they were all done by him. However, because of his connection to his nephew and involvement in the battle between Fan Xian and the Second Prince, he was shuffled to a position with practically no obligations. Later, because of the assassination in Hanging Temple, he was forced to the side. If he had stayed for another two years, he would probably have died without anyone to bury him.
Because Fan Xian had endlessly spoken in praise of him and the Emperor remembered his previous good service, he was spared his life and allowed to return to the inner palace to perform odd tasks.
For Eunuch Dai, Fan Xian was his savior and, perhaps, half his master. He was even more important than Lady Su, so he dared not provide inadequate service to Fan Xian.
The shoes on Fan Xian’s feet were hot, so he just didn’t bother to put them on completely. He just shuffled along like this toward the end of the long corridor.
Eunuch Dai glanced at his feet and said in a pained voice, “Sir, it’s best to be a bit particular in the Palace.”
Fan Xian glanced at him and was about to say a few teasing words when he suddenly saw a few eunuchs approaching from the end of the corridor. The one in the lead was young, and his appearance was somewhat familiar. His head was raised high and exuded a sense of pride. The few young eunuchs behind followed him half bent over, looking like servants of servants.
“It’s Eunuch Hong.” Eunuch Dai restrained his expression and reminded Fan Xian calmly from behind him.
Fan Xian furrowed his brows slightly and didn’t say anything. He directly glanced toward him.
The two people from the two sides met in the middle of the corridor. Fan Xian could clearly see a few pimples on this prideful young eunuch’s face. He didn’t say anything and just stood where he was, looking coldly at the other person.’
Hong Zhu paused. He knew Fan Xian was waiting for him to greet him. However, he was now the head eunuch in the Eastern Palace and, furthermore, recently the Emperor would occasionally have him go to the royal study to help him. Compared to the past, when he held books in the royal study, he was much more well-regarded. Who didn’t venerate him in the palace? Even the officials entering the Palace were polite to him. Other than Shu the Scholar, there was no other official who waited for him to offer greetings first.
He knew Fan Xian was not a normal official. Seeing Fan Xian’s cold expression with a hint of disdain, his face flushed red. He refused to lower his head first.
The two sides were caught in a deadlock.
The three or four young eunuchs following Hong Zhu were too low ranked and had never seen Fan Xian. They had no idea that this was the all-powerful Sir Fan junior. Looking at this scene, they hurried to help Eunuch Hong take the initiative. In a high voice, they said, “Sir, how could you randomly walk around in the forbidden grounds of the Palace?”
Eunuch Dai secretly smiled from behind Fan Xian. He no longer had the status from the past and was heavily oppressed by people in the Palace, such as Hong Zhu. At this moment, watching these idiots offend Fan Xian, he felt an unspeakable joy in his heart. Just as he wanted to do something, he was stopped by Fan Xian waving his hand.
Fan Xian looked at the eunuchs behind Hong Zhu with a slight smile and said good-naturedly, “You haven’t been in the Palace long, right? There are not many people in the Palace who don’t recognize me. I was also not wandering around. I am just going to Shufang Palace as ordered by imperial edict.”
Indeed, it was a few eunuchs who had not been in the Palace long so they didn’t understand the meaning of these words. They straightened their necks and said, “How are you. Where is Shufang Palace? Why are you stopped in the long corridor? Be careful that Eunuch Hong doesn’t call the guards here to have you thrown out!”
He was helping his boss extend his influence, but he didn’t know that he was making trouble for him instead. As expected, Hong Zhu saw the smile on Fan Xian’s face grow warmer and warmer. His own expression immediately changed. He was shocked, fearful, and angry. He turned around and viciously scolded the young eunuchs a bit before slowly bowing to Fan Xian, “Greetings, Sir Fan junior.”
Once they heard these words, the young eunuchs immediately knew they were done for. They looked at Fan Xian with terror on their faces and immediately knelt down to beg for mercy.
However, Fan Xian couldn’t be bothered to look at those young eunuchs. He only looked at Hong Zhu’s face and mockingly said, “My father is Minister Fan, so everyone refers to me as Sir Fan junior. You, servant, what Eunuch Hong are you? If Eunuch Hong hears about his, be careful he doesn’t skin you alive!”
Hong Zhu’s face was filled with fear and ruthlessness. He stared fiercely at Fan Xian and didn’t say a single word.
“Punish yourself,” Fan Xian furrowed his brows and said.
Hong Zhu gritted his teeth and said, “I belong to the Eastern Palace. You are a court official, so how could your power reach into the Palace?”
Fan Xian also didn’t say anything and just looked at him coldly.
Forced by his gaze, Hong Zhu had no other choice. He could only slap himself gently across the cheek.
After this slap landed, Eunuch Dai, who was still standing behind Fan Xian, almost burst with joy. He decided he was going to properly spread this around the Royal Palace. However, the young eunuchs behind Hong Zhu were terrified half to death. They knew Eunuch Hong’s status in the Palace. How could they have known that with just a few words from Sir Fan junior, Eunuch Hong would have no choice but to slap himself?
It looked like Eunuch Hong was indeed not as powerful as Sir Fan junior.
Fan Xian turned his body slightly to the side and blocked Eunuch Dai’s line of sight. Taking advantage of the fact that the young eunuchs were kneeling on the ground, he shot Hong Zhu a meaningful glance.
Hong Zhu saw it clearly, but his gaze cried out bitterly, indicating that he really was unable to find a convenient place to talk.
Fan Xian nodded and coldly said, “Get lost.”
Thus, Hong Zhu shook his sleeves. Angry and embarrassed, he led the young eunuchs to the other end of the long corridor.
Looking at this scene, Eunuch Dai smiled at Fan Xian and said, “Let’s see that dog being arrogant again. Just because the Emperor and empress both like him, he keeps doing foolish things in the Palace.’
Fan Xian smiled and said, “Indeed, it is not good to act foolishly in this Palace. When we go to Shufang Palace in a moment, I’ll have to be careful of my appearance.
Without waiting for Eunuch Hong to say something else righteous, he crouched down. As he pulled up the long boot on his foot, he stuffed the piece of paper under his boot into his boot.