Joy of Life - Chapter 473 - Where Are The Roots Of The Straw?[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:49:19]
Chapter 473: Where Are The Roots Of The Straw?
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
In the three years since Fan Xian entered the capital, this was his first time planning out something by himself without the help of the elders or Yan Bingyun’s strategizing. However, he could still use the Overwatch Council’s extensive intelligence network and enormous amount of files accumulated over months and years to begin extending a conspiratorial probe into the Royal Palace from outside.
The pressure was great, but he had to learn to endure such pressure. During the process of preparation, he had considered telling his father and Chen Pingping the truth. However, the true thoughts of these two elders were difficult to figure out and he didn’t know how loyal they were to the Emperor. He was even less sure whether this plot, which would certainly plunge the royal family into chaos, would be forcefully suppressed by the two elders for some reason.
Thus, he chose to proceed on his own in the dark.
The Overwatch Council’s intelligence reports were sent without end to his study. In order to avoid drawing other people’s suspicions, his excuse was very clever. The information that he carefully came into contact with was only from the outer edges. It changed hands a few times and was then sent into the isolated and quiet little courtyard in the city.
He did not stay in the study for too long to avoid give something away. He showed the usual amount of filial piety toward his father and wandered around the garden. He even went to visit Ren Shao’an’s manor. However, Xin Qiwu did not invite him over as he had done in previous years.
Fan Xian understood. Xin Qiwu was close to the Crown Prince. As the Crown Prince gradually woke from his silence and used his behavior to fool everyone in the Palace, Xin Qiwu must have received some indication from the Eastern Palace and no longer tried to gain favor with Fan Xian. However, this change was not abrupt. Xin Qiwu had found a good excuse and even visited the Fan manor personally with a generous gift.
After many days, Fan Xian finally figured out the heads and tails of the matter. After running the plan through his head, he took a prudent gaze to inspect the clues in his mind. He confirmed that it would be difficult for Hong Zhu to be implicated and himself to be involved when the royal family carried out a thorough investigation. Only then did he feel slightly more relaxed.
On the seventh day of the New Year, Fan Sizhe, who felt suffocated from being shut up in the manor, badgered his brother to take him out. Fan Xian glared at him and refuted him. “Do you think you’re still the second young master of the Fan manor? Right now, the Council is hiding your location…but the Palace certainly already knows where you are. Right now, there aren’t people from the Ministry of Justice here to seize you because the Palace is giving father and me some face. If you go out with that fat face, where would the Palace put their dignity? You would be immediately captured!”
Fan Sizhe paused thinking, Why was brother speaking so harshly today? In his year of doing business in Northern Qi, he had still had his treacherous commercial genius but had also lost some of his pompous nature. He immediately saw that his brother had something on his mind and his mood was rather heavy. Carefully, he asked, “Brother, what happened? In this world, we are brothers. If you have something to say, then say it. Maybe I can help you?”
Fan Xian suddenly thought of the Northern Qi aces that had come with Fan Sizhe south who were now settled in a manor outside the city. His heart jumped, but he immediately threw away such thoughts. He didn’t dare disturb Director Chen and his father. How could he do that to his precious baby brother? However, since Sizhe noticed he had something on his mind, he had to find a cover.
He paused slightly and said, “On the 10th, the Great Prince’s manor is opening its doors to guests, and I’ll have to go.”
“The 10th?” Fan Sizhe pressed his lips together and chuckled. “Brother, that is an important day. It looks like the Great Prince thinks very highly of you…to pick such a day to invite you.”
Fan Xian laughed coldly. “I’m afraid it’s wangfei’s intention…what am I worried about? I said I would take Hongcheng with me, but last night someone came from the manor to remind me. On the 10th, the Second Prince will also be there.”
Fan Sizhe sucked in cold breath and said, “My god…brother, you beat the Second Prince black and blue and now you have to sit at the same table and eat. Be careful he doesn’t do something shady.”
Fan Xian furrowed his brows and said, “That shouldn’t happen…who would dare to kill someone in the Great Prince’s manor? However, I just think it will be difficult to deal with.”
Fan Sizhe lowered his head. He immediately understood what his brother was worried about. The Great Prince had chosen the 10th to invite guests and had invited both Fan Xian and the Second Prince. Presumably, the Great Prince still harbored hopes of having his two “younger brothers” agreeing to peace again. It was impossible for Fan Xian not to give the Great Prince face, but he also couldn’t release his hold on the Second Prince. No wonder he was so troubled.
He thought he understood the reason why his brother’s mood was so heavy. He shook his head and said, “Go and eat. Just don’t reply to anything said to you. The Great Prince won’t be able to do anything to you.”
Fan Xian smiled. “That is true.” He glanced at his younger brother and suddenly said, “You really want to go out? You can’t get off the carriage. You can only look from the carriage.”
Fan Sizhe was overjoyed and looked at him pitifully. After he returned from Northern Qi, he had been shut up in the manor. Even during the ancestral worship on the first day of the year, he could only kowtow a few times in the carriage. He had long felt suffocated. Hearing his brother’s orders, he repeatedly nodded his head.
As they traveled through Jingdou in the carriage, snow floated down gently like catkins from willows.
The Fan brothers wandered around the prosperous streets in Jingdou. During the trip, they made a visit to the Danbo Bookstore and learned about the recent situation. When the two owners arrived, the Qingyu Hall shopkeeper, who replaced Seventh Ye, quickly entered the carriage to give a report. However, listening to the report was secondary. Fan Sizhe only wanted to have a look at the little bookstore he had opened when he had first started.
After leaving Danbo Bookstore, they went to Baoyue Brothel.
The carriage stopped at a hidden back door to the side of Baoyue Brothel. Fan Sizhe slanted his face to look up at the three-story building. His youthful face was filled with an elder’s sighing. Seeing Danbo Bookstore earlier had already moved him. Now, looking at the brothel that had changed his life, those complicated feelings suddenly surged up in his mind.
Fan Xian lifted the curtain on the carriage and walked down. “Come on.”
Fan Sizhe was overjoyed. Without saying anything, he followed him off the carriage.
There was already someone waiting at the back door to welcome them in. The group of people quietly entered the back garden and followed the quiet steps directly to the third floor. They sat in the room that was always left empty.
Fan Sizhe twisted his head excitedly to look around. Occasionally, his hand would touch the interesting furniture in the Wei Kingdom style that he had personally picked out. His face was full of reluctance and excitement.
Fan Xian glanced at him and smiled. He was not particularly worried about his brother’s safety in Jingdou. As long as he went out with him, no one would forcefully do anything. However, seeing Fan Sizhe’s mood, his emotions were suddenly moved. For people like Sizhe and the Third Prince, if they were discussed in terms of good and evil, they were probably both people who would be sliced a thousand times. However, he still stood firmly behind them.
He smiled self-mockingly and thought to himself that he truly wasn’t a good person.
There was no one else in this room except Sang Wen and Shi Qing’er personally serving them. After drinking a cup of hot tea, Fan Xian gave Sang Wen a meaningful glance. The two of them walked into the secret room hidden in the back.
Fan Sizhe did not find this strange or give the two people a glance. He only continued to chat with Shi Qing’er. Between the lines, he was interested in the running of Baoyue Brothel after he left Qing Kingdom. After he heard She Qing’er tell him about some of the changes Fan Xian had made to Baoyue Brothel, as well as the contract situation with the girls in the building, he opened his mouth wide and sucked in a cold breath. The gaze he turned on the secret room was no longer the same.
Fan Sizhe felt true admiration for his elder brother from the depths of his heart. With these changes, it looked as if the brothel had suffered a disadvantage. In reality, it had earned people’s hearts and reduced many unnecessary secret expenses.
He shook his round face and secretly sighed in admiration. “I only know how to earn silver, but brother knows how to earn people’s hearts.”
Fan Xian wanted loyalty from his subordinates. Other than sucking up the silver of the powerful and noble, the main purpose of Baoyue Brothel was to gather intelligence reports. For this type of work, he could only have Sang Wen, who was completely loyal to him, be responsible for it.
“Have you been to Chen Garden recently?” Fan Xian gazed at the sweet-tempered girl and seemed to ask this without thinking.
Sang Wen shook her head. “No.”
Fan Xian nodded. Sang Wen was his direct subordinate. As long as the old Chen crippled didn’t say anything, the rules of the Council and its related work processes should not be able to interfere with her actions.
“How is the preparation going for what I asked for?”
Sang Wen took out a sealed leather envelope and handed it over. “The information concerning the embroidery office was very easy to get hold off. However, the thing you wanted to investigate is not easy to do.”
She smiled bitterly and said, “The doctors in the Imperial Academy of Medicine are all old men and don’t go to brothels anymore. If you really want to investigate the Imperial Academy of Medicine, I think it would be most convenient to go at it from the inside.”
Fan Xian shook his head and said, “As I said earlier, this is a private matter that cannot go through the Council. Also, the Imperial Academy of Medicine is filled with old men, but what about their disciples? Those are all young people.”
Sang Wen’s mouth and lips were a bit broad, but they were not ugly. On the contrary, they contrasted with her sweet-tempered face. It was very unique. She opened her mouth and bitterly said, “The salary of the students of the Imperial Academy of Medicine is too little. Without having graduated, they cannot go on house-calls alone and are not allowed to go to the various manors in Jingdou. It is difficult to have them come to Baoyue Brothel.”
Fan Xian took out a file from the leather envelope and read it carefully with narrowed eyes. Using his extraordinary memory, which surpassed many others, he forced himself to memorize most of the important contents in the file and handed it back.
Sang Wen took out a yellow copper base and carefully burned the file and leather envelope she had placed inside. After they had completely burned to dust, she stood up.
Fan Xian digested the intelligence report in his mind and shook his head with his eyes closed. “Your part ends here.”
Sang Wen bowed slightly and said, “Yes.”
Fan Xian took his brother and left Baoyue Brothel. However, he didn’t remain in his manor. After taking Sizhe back, he once again climbed into the black carriage.
He sat in the carriage and thought. Regardless of whether it was the intelligence reports the Overwatch Council obtained from the outer edges or the bits and pieces the Baoyue Brothel had, he could only reach a relative blurry conclusion through them.
The Crown Prince’s change had indeed begun half a year ago. At that time, Fan Xian was far away in Jiangnan and had no idea what was happening under Jingdou’s calm surface. But, without question, the venereal disease that had long troubled the Crown Prince, which had long made his mental state appear inferior and timid, had been cured by someone. This made the Imperial Academy of Medicine, who was aware of this secret, sink into wild joy. They all thought that it was the blessing of heaven on Qing Kingdom.
It was at this time that the Crown Prince, because of his body’s recovery, began to emit a glow called self-confidence and became calmer. In his calm, he revealed the steadiness a future Emperor ought to have.
The empress dowager was very happy about this change, and the Emperor also seemed surprised and happy.
After receiving confirmation from Hong Zhu, Fan Xian sank into some kind of deep thought. In terms of psychology, he could deduce some things. The Eldest Princess may only be using the Crown Prince as some kind of substitute or perhaps even considered him as a pet like a little white rabbit. But, what about the Crown Prince? Even if was the passive side, where did he get that bravery from?
Regardless of whether it was the previous timid and boastful Crown Prince or the present steady and restrained Crown Prince, neither should have the daring to do such an absurd thing. Although it was beneficial in terms of politics, the Crown Prince was still not someone with this kind of daring because he was not crazy enough.
Thus, before he agreed to anything with Hong Zhu, the first thing Fan Xian did was to investigate the cause of this matter. He truly felt it was strange.
The carriage bounced along. Fan Xian’s forehead was pulled very tight. As a disciple of Fei Jie, he was familiar with medicine. After roughly understanding the situation, he unconsciously shifted his suspicions onto the medicine.
In this world, although venereal diseases were impossible to recover from, they did confine people to their sickbeds. It was very difficult to endure and a troublesome thing. Otherwise, the Crown Prince wouldn’t have suffered for all these years and the Imperial Academy of Medicine wouldn’t have been perplexed for so many years.
What medicine would cure the Crown Prince in such a short time? And, what medicine could make the Crown Prince so much braver?
He had arranged for Sang Wen to begin investigating this path of clues. Of course, he used a different excuse. However, after much investigation, they found that this clue led nowhere. Baoyue Brothel’s intelligence power was limited, but the supplementary research in the Overwatch Council also didn’t make any progress at all.
Fan Xian began to feel a thread of danger as if his back was being watched by an icy cold gaze. Was this a trap? Did someone set up a trap and wanted him to expose this matter?
If he continued to dig deeper, he worried he might disturb the powerful figure hiding behind the curtains. He decisively stopped his investigation into the medicine and turned his attention to the path he should be on.
He understood one thing. No one knew of his connection to Hong Zhu. Since this was so, no one would think to use this level of connection. If there really was another person trying to control this matter, then their goal was the same as his. As long as he was not implicated when the incident happened, that person would not be able to use him.
The medicine was important, but also not important. What was important was still the Crown Prince’s heart. The medicine may perhaps be able to have the effect of adding fuel to the fire, but this method of action was rarely seen and powerful. Fan Xian thought, If it really was the medicine, then who made it?
In a flash, a few names immediately rose in his mind. Those that had the motivation to do such a thing were only him, who wished at all times to be able to pull the Eldest Princess and the Crown Prince off their horses, and the Second Prince, who now had the support of the Ye family but faintly sensed that the Crown Prince was going to snatch away his position in the Eldest Princess’ heart.
It could even be…the Emperor.
In the carriage, Fan Xian was abruptly startled and then shook his head unconsciously. Although he was always on guard toward the Emperor, the Emperor had truly treated him well. He didn’t seem like this kind of person. Furthermore, putting aside the Emperor’s feelings of regret toward the Eldest Princess, even if he wanted to clean out the Palace, there was no need for him to condescend to using such dirty methods.
Of course, the first name that rose in Fan Xian’s mind was actually Chen Pingping. Because of the medicine, he very naturally thought of Fei Jie.
However, he couldn’t find anything and didn’t dare take risks in looking, so he couldn’t confirm anything and could only pull back.
The carriage drove to an isolated courtyard. It was the one that Wang Qinian had spent a few hundred liang to purchase. Fan Xian directly walked in and moved out a chair to sit on in the innermost room. He silently looked at the dry old man in front of him.
Wang Qinian pulled a pained expression and said, “Zi Yue is out saying his farewells. He’s going to Northern Qi tomorrow. Mu Tie doesn’t dare to take over the First Bureau…”
Fan Xian waved his hand to stop him and said straightforwardly, “You know this isn’t what I want to hear.”
“You could go find Sir Yan,” Wang Qinian said with a mournful look. “I’m not good at this…besides…this is a crime that will wipe out an entire clan.”
Fan Xian glared at him and said, “What crime is there? This isn’t something we did.”
Wang Qinian glanced at him fearfully. Even if it wasn’t a major crime, now he knew of this matter. If it was discovered by people in the Palace, then no matter how far the Overwatch Council could escape…it wouldn’t be able to escape death.
Fan Xian smiled warmly and patted his thin shoulder. “What does this mean? This means you are the person I trust the most. Besides, you know everything about me. Any matter is enough for me to lose my head, so what’s one more?”
Wang Qinian suddenly felt a great regret. After he came back from Northern Qi, he should have followed Sir Fan junior and the Director’s intentions and immediately taken over the First Bureau. He should not have returned to Sir Fan junior’s side and re-taken control of the Qinian Unit. In that case, he wouldn’t have seen that chest he shouldn’t look at even if he were blind and he wouldn’t have heard that secret that he shouldn’t have listened to even if he were deaf.
“Someone is investigating.” In the light snow in the Chen Garden, Chen Pingping sat in a wheelchair with a thick cape over his shoulders. He looked at the gradually freezing ice shards on the surface of the pond in the garden and smiled slightly. “They investigated very cleverly and hid very deeply. We still can’t confirm who it is.”
Fei Jie glanced at the Director and shook his head. “There are still three months to the scheduled time. I hope no troubles arise.”
“I wonder if the crazy woman will sense anything.” Chen Pingping sighed. “However, the lady once said, the true death of the camel only needed the pressure of one last strand of straw…I won’t live for many more years. I must quickly place this strand of straw.”