Joy of Life - Chapter 470[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:49:18]
Chapter 470: Seeing The Eldest Princess Again
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Fan Xian was silent for a long time before finally banishing his idea of having Yan Bingyun plan this matter. He had to ensure Hong Zhu’s safety, and he knew Yan Bingyun’s loyalty to Qing court under his cold exterior. This kind of risk could not be taken lightly.
He looked at Yan Bingyun’s not very healthy complexion and furrowed his brows. He turned and placed his finger on Yan Bingyun’s wrist and paused.
Yan Bingyun was slightly startled, but his face remained icy and did not have any reaction.
“How is your body bad to such an extent?” Fan Xian furrowed his brows. “I’ve heard that it’s been multiple days since you’ve gone home?”
Yan Bingyun casually tidied the case files on the table and replied, “There are over 30 officials shut up in prison, and every day there is someone at the Supreme Court crying their grievances. The miscellaneous matters also have to be dealt with properly. With both things, how could I have time to leave this yard?”
Fan Xian noticed the tidiness inside the secret room. Even the case files on the large wooden table had been sorted by type and placed neatly. He couldn’t help smiling and said, “This room is even more comfortable than when the Director was here. It looks like you are quite used to this position.”
Yan Bingyun felt a bit tired. He stretched out two fingers and rubbed forcefully at the skin between his eyes. It was not until the white skin had turned red that he felt his attention recovering a little.
“Go back.” Fan Xian looked at this scene and shook his head.
Yan Bingyun didn’t pay any attention to him. He just took out another file and began to read it closely with his head slightly lowered. In a quiet voice, he said, “You wanted to strike at the Second Prince and took down this many people, someone has to deal with it. You and the Director both like to be lazy, but the Overwatch Council cannot depend on a bunch of lazy people to support it.”
Fan Xian heard a glimmer of resentment and, on the contrary, smiled.
Yan Bingyun seemed to be very unused to having Fan Xian stare at him working. After a moment, he closed the file and raised his head. “Although the Second prince’s power in court has been completely uprooted by you, I still want to remind you of something.”
“What is it?”
“You’ve only taken away a branch from beside the Second Prince,” Yan Bingyun said calmly. “Your axe has not yet been able to strike into the thickest tree below him.”
Fan Xian knew that Yan Bingyun was talking about the Ye family. The Ye family that herded horses far away in Dingzhou but was able to reach Jingdou in five days. The family that had a Great Grandmaster in it. After the Second Prince and Ye Ling’er married, it was without question that other than the Eldest Princess, the Second Prince had now gained the Ye family a large and sturdy tree to rely on.
The night attack in Jingdou was to remove the Second Prince’s core officials in the court and the martial power around him, but it did not cause any loss for the Ye family. As long as the Ye family remained in Dingzhou, the Second Prince did not suffer any true loses.
Fan Xian sighed and felt somewhat helpless. He had originally counted on using the three city-guarding crossbows used during the attack in the valley to also bring down the Ye family. However, no one had expected that the Northern Qi Emperor’s secret letter, his greetings from tens of thousands of li away, would force the Qing court to end their investigation. It made it impossible for Fan Xian to frame the Ye family even if he wanted to.
“We’ll worry about the Ye family in the future.”
Yan Bingyun glanced at him and furrowed his brows. “The Second Prince’s foundations are with the Ye family. However, because of this, his current dependency on the Eldest Princess has also lowered…”
This brain that Fan Xian relied on the most let his words trail off. It pierced deeply into Fan Xian’s heart. For no reason, his heart suddenly jumped as he thought of the top secret information he had learned today. He began to scent a different atmosphere. No matter whether the Eldest Princess supported the Crown Prince openly in the past or the Second Prince in secret, the purpose of that crazy woman’s tricks was to ensure that when one of her two nephews took the throne in the future, they would still be under her control.
The Eldest Princess, Li Yunrui, was a powerful figure with a wide gaze. What she wanted was no small feat. The Second Prince had the Ye family as a support, so his dependency on her decreased. This meant that if the Second Prince took the throne, it would be much more difficult if she wanted to hide behind the scenes and move the controls.
In a thought, Fan Xian’s heart jumped a little. He immediately smiled coldly. “The Crown Prince…doesn’t have much more of a future. The Second Prince will eventually be brought down.”
Yan Bingyun glanced at him in suspiciously. Although the Overwatch Council never participated in the battle between the princes, this hidden rule had been broken since Fan Xian took over the Overwatch Council. However, how could Fan Xian be certain of where Emperor’s favor was? The Crown Prince was a particular favorite of the empress dowager, so why wouldn’t there be a chance?
Fan Xian would not explain anything to him. He furrowed his brows and said, “Send a message to Su Wenmao and Xia Qifei and have the two get ready to…draw back the net.”
Yan Bingyun stared into Fan Xian’s eyes and said, “The matters in Jiangnan are within our control, but if we strike down in one go…there isn’t much certainty. After all, the capital is watching…unless some big change suddenly appears in the situation in the capital…”
Fan Xian smiled. He knew that the words he had unthinkingly said made the meticulous Sir Yan guess at something. He explained in an even voice, “It is only to get ready early. Even if nothing changes in Jingdou for a year, the Emperor will not be able to tolerate the Ming family matter for much longer.”
It was not until he heard that this was the Emperor’s wish did Yan Bingyun feel slightly less suspicious and asked, “How far back do we draw the net?”
Fan Xian was silent for a moment as his mind wandered slightly. The complicated arrangements and danger lurking beneath the nice weather in Jiangnan this year were like pictures that spun in front of his eyes like a carousel of paper horses: the heads of the leaders of the three workshops in the palace treasury, the corpses covering the little island, Ming Qingda fainting in the palace treasury, the lawsuit in the Suzhou government, the old Ming matriarch’s unexpected suicide, the Sixth Ming Master going into prison and being killed, the sudden appearance of the Seventh Ming Master…
The Ming family was already a grasshopper held in his hands. To what extent it should be done still needed Fan Xian’s nod.
The wealthiest family in the world is not going to be much cleaner than the Royal Palace, Fan Xian thought to himself. To Yan Bingyun, he quietly said, “Draw it back completely. Arrange for the people in the money house to act. Furthermore, a few people can be killed in Ming Garden.”
Hearing the words “money house,” Yan Bingyun knew that the piece they had hidden for a year was finally going to be moved. That money house that was set up in the name of the Shen family and Dongyi had actually been set up by Yan Bingyun. He knew how to use it to defeat the Ming family. However, he had never figured out where the silver in the money house came from. Looking at Fan Xian, he finally couldn’t resist and lowered his voice to say, “I won’t pay attention to just where the money in Jiangnan came from, but I ask that you take note, please don’t let it be…Northern Qi’s.”
Although he heard Yan Bingyun guess it correctly in one go, how could Fan Xian admit it? He self-mockingly said, “Don’t forget who my mother is. Other than the palace treasury, she has to leave me some spare silver to spend.”
Yan Bingyun shook his head and believed Fan Xian’s explanation. After all, everyone knew how wealthy the Ye family was back then.
Sitting on the carriage going home, Fan Xian had a sense of disappointment in his chest. It was not because he had made a pointless trip to the Overwatch Council and had not had Yan Bingyun participate in the Palace matter, it was because he had finally confirmed that for Yan Bingyun and other young, handsome, and accomplished men of his generation, Qing Kingdom, the Emperor’s interests, and the glory of unifying the world were the truly paramount priorities.
Yan Bingyun had always put in his best effort for Fan Xian, but that was because everything Fan Xian did protected the interest of Qing Kingdom. However, if, in the future, Fan Xian truly changed into that role, how would he treat the Commissioner he had a deep relationship with?
Fan Xian knew that this was a necessary thing. After all, everyone lived into their own times. He had the experience of his previous life, so he was able to place less value on the differences between the countries under heaven. But, he could not ask the same of others. That request was not reasonable or fair.
Yan Bingyun’s role at Fan Xian’s side had always been a bit blurry. He was not part of the Qinian Unit but was Fan Xian’s confidant. He had participated in most of the missions, particularly the plan in Jiangnan last year, which he had practically made single-handedly. Now that Fan Xian had clearly realized this, he made up his mind that concerning his deal with Northern Qi and the deepest secrets, he wouldn’t let Sir Yan touch them, yet.
However, for the Overwatch Council mission this time, the most important and urgent problem hadn’t been solved. How could they connect with Hong Zhu? Fan Xian sat in the carriage with his chin in his hands and his brows tightly furrowed.
Unexpectedly, when he returned to the manor, he heard an edict that surprised him greatly. He immediately acutely realized that tonight would be the best opportunity to confirm this matter with Hong Zhu.
The edict had not come from the Emperor but from the long silent empress dowager. Qing Kingdom used filial piety to govern the world, and the Emperor was the model for tens of thousands of people. Although this empress dowager had been silent for a long time, not a single person underestimated the true influence of this old woman.
The empress dowager’s edict had come at the moment Fan Xian had left the manor. It was a special edict summoning him into the Palace. Unexpectedly, Fan Xian had secretly snuck out, so the eunuch conveying the edict had to wait the entire time.
Fan Xian tilted his head slightly to hear Lady Liu’s quiet words beside his ear and glanced at the long overwrought Eunuch Yao. He couldn’t resist smiling. Originally, given his ability, if he wanted to sneak into the Royal Palace, he would need Uncle Wu Zhu beside him to have the confidence to pull the wool over old Eunuch Hong’s eyes and ears. Now, if he stayed in the Palace tonight—if he wanted to meet with Hong Zhu—it would be much simpler.
Furthermore, he was male, so he would certainly not be living in the back of the palace. He could only find a room at the front of the Royal Palace. It would also be convenient to do things.
But, he still didn’t know just why the empress dowager was urgently summoning him into the Palace.
By the time he and Wan’er retreated from Hanguang Palace hand in hand, Fan Xian couldn’t help but sigh awkwardly. It was only now that he understood why the old woman had him enter the Palace. It was to force him and Wan’er to go to Guangxin Palace to visit his mother-in-law, the Eldest Princess.
The empress dowager did not wish for her descendants to be in a mess. After Fan Xian had returned to the capital, he had entered the Palace a number of times and had always avoided the Eldest Princess. This reality made the empress dowager unhappy. She decided to use the power in her hands to fix the crack between the juniors. Taking the opportunity of Wan’er being in the Palace, she had summoned Fan Xian.
It was already dusk and getting dim inside the Royal Palace. Wan’er glanced worried at Fan Xian’s expression and pouted, “I don’t want to go to Guangxin Palace.”
Fan Xian forced a smile and comforted, “No matter what, the Eldest Princess is your mother. You’ll have to see her at least once.” Although he said this, his heart was gradually beating faster.
Lin Wan’er looked at him seriously and said, “I know you also don’t want to see mother, so how about we just sneak out of the Palace?”
Fan Xian couldn’t resist laughing and said, “Watch the empress dowager kill the two of us for being immature little rascals.”
Not far ahead of them, the palace door to Guangxin Palace was already opened a little. A few serving girls were waiting submissively outside. Accurately speaking, Fan Xian and Wan’er should be half masters of Guangxin Palace, but this strange world had long made their connection to this palace cold and odd.
Fan Xian’s smiled warmly and glanced at the serving girls. His powers of observation were very strong. In a glance, he could see that these girls were like the ones when he first entered Guangxin Palace, they all had very powerful cultivations.
They entered from a corner of the palace gate and a slight wind greeted them. The wind was extremely cold. Fan Xian thought of the woman in the Palace and couldn’t suppress a shiver.
“Yi Chen, come here, let me look at you.”
The Eldest Princess, Li Yunrui, was waiting to welcome them outside the palace. Although she forced her tone to remain calm, Fan Xian could still hear a very faint oddness. He raised his head in slight astonishment and gazed forward only to see the Eldest Princess looking at Wan’er beside him in a daze.
Wan’er bit her full bottom lip. Her hand grasped her husband’s hand and refused to let go.
Fan Xian gently patted the back of her hand, giving her enough encouragement.
Wan’er composed herself and walked forward. She bowed to the beautiful woman in court robes on the stone steps and said, in a quiet voice, “Greetings, mother.”
Her voice was very low and thin. It was unnatural in an undefined way.
The Eldest Princess stared at her daughter in a daze. Her originally expectant expression abruptly calmed and she faintly said, “Have you been well recently?”
Fan Xian furrowed his brows and coughed a little uneasily. He moved closer to Wan’er side and smiled, “Greetings, mother-in-law.”
The Eldest Princess looked at him. A strange smile rose to her beautiful appearance. “You still know to come visit me?”
For some reason, the Eldest Princess appeared a bit cold toward her daughter. However, she talked to Fan Xian very casually. Fortunately, Fan Xian interrupted. It was only after that the atmosphere on the stone steps relaxed a little. The Eldest Princess took Lin Wan’er hand and stood with her shoulder to shoulder on the stone steps. She gave a few orders to the serving girls in the yard and prepared to walk into the palace.
Fan Xian half raised his head and looked at the two women on the stone steps. To his amusement, he found that Wan’er and her mother did not look much alike. It was only because the Eldest Princess’ secret to taking care of herself that she looked so young. Thus, when the two of them stood together, they didn’t look like mother and daughter. Instead, they looked like two sister flowers.
However, although Wan’er had already married and become a wife, she still couldn’t shake off her youth while the Eldest Princess had bloomed long ago and, for year after year, had not withered. She was like a blooming tree peony…eye-catching.
Guangxin Palace had long set up dinner. There were no outsiders, only the Eldest Princess and the two of them. After speaking a little during dinner, Wan’er finally relaxed a little. In addition to the fact they were mother and daughter, her gaze toward the Eldest Princess also softened lightly.
The Eldest Princess seemed to be happy with Wan’er’s change. Her voice began to show a true softness. At some point, she actually sighed and faintly said, “In your eyes, I’m afraid I’ve been a bad mother…”
Lin Wan’er’s eyes were rimmed with red and tears were about to fall. Ever since she was young, she had grown up amongst a number of Palaces. Although she was dearly loved by the empress dowager, as a girl, how could she not miss her mother? At this moment, hearing such gentle words at her mother’s side, her emotions were very complicated. She didn’t know what to say.
Fan Xian sat lower down. Looking at the mother and daughter sitting shoulder to shoulder, he smiled slightly. Of this pair, one was the most beautiful woman in Qing Kingdom and the other was the most beautiful woman in his heart. Looking at them, how could one not enjoy it? However, he had to gloomily admit that his wife was indeed not as pretty as his mother-in-law, particularly today.
Her beautiful appearance, red lips, bright eyes, and done up waterfall of black hair were all as before, yet there was a glimmer of rarely seen true emotion. She was not as lovable and tender as in the legends which, on the contrary, made her extraordinary beauty more moving.
The voices of the two women talking became quieter and quieter, as well as more and more comfortable.
He was not surprised by this scene. He still had belief in people’s natures. No matter how crazy the Eldest Princess was, she was still a mother.
In Fan Xian’s opinion, this incompetent mother was no different from those stupid middle-school girls who gave birth in bathrooms. After all these years, she should feel some remorse and have woken up to reality.
The serving girl behind him filled his wine cup. He drank it in one go, feeling the slight burn in his throat. The taste of Wu Liangye was indeed without compare. However, why was it making one feel emotional and disappointed?
His gaze on the Eldest Princess was not strange, but his emotions began to churn. He constantly wondered why such a beautiful woman would take such a path in life.