Joy of Life - Chapter 480 - Eunuchs Can Also Change The World[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:49:22]
Chapter 480: Eunuchs Can Also Change The World
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The general was not wearing any armor and did not carry that longbow behind him. Even so, Fan Xian still had to lower his head slightly and narrow his eyes in order to stand against the thick arrow intention emanating from his body.
An arrow was used to kill, but an arrow intent was not a killing intent. It was only an imposing manner that stripped one of their outer clothing and revealed the timidity and pale flesh within.
Despite Fan Xian’s powerful strength and control over his state of mind, he was still oppressed by this imposing manner. This demonstrated that the general’s cultivation was truly a level above his.
Yan Xiaoyi, the Northern Governor, was an extraordinary warrior of the superior ninth-level and the person most able to challenge a Great Grandmaster.
Fan Xian pushed a smile onto his face and warmly greeted Yan Xiaoyi with a bow.
Yan Xiaoyi was standing right in the long corridor. His deep gaze washed over Fan Xian’s face like spring water. He did not respond to Fan Xian’s words but said in a raspy voice, “I must return North very soon. Every time I think of when the colored lanterns are hovering high and the martial conference has begun, I feel disappointed that I will not be able to test myself against you.”
The so-called martial conference was a boxing match hosted by the court. Fan Xian knew that in a country such as this where martial merit and demonstrations of martial ability were honored, if Yan Xiaoyi really did go crazy and didn’t care about the Emperor’s face and challenged him in front of the Palace…
Would Yan Xiaoyi go crazy? Fan Xian knew that everyone in the Eldest Princess’ faction were all a bit crazy. In particular, Yan Xiaoyi, since his only son, Yan Shengdu, was killed on Fan Xian’s command by the lovely Thirteenth Wang.
Could he defeat Yan Xiaoyi? Fan Xian asked himself honestly. He could not spray poisoned fog in front of the Palace and couldn’t use a crossbow. In a direct fight, there was still some distance between him and a warrior at the peak of the superior ninth-level. Although Yan Xiaoyi would not be able to use the longbow he was famous for, Fan Xian would not be so stupid as to assume that all of Yan Xiaoyi’s extraordinary skill completely rested in that bow.
Thus, once the fight actually happened, even if Lao Hong could, in the end, save his life, he would certainly be heavily injured.
In the military meeting, the Emperor ordered Yan Xiaoyi to return to the North early. This was fulfilling Fan Xian’s request. After all, he didn’t want to get hurt. However, looking at the current situation, Yan Xiaoyi’s disappointment and anger could no longer be suppressed.
Fan Xian couldn’t help but smile warmly at this powerful military figure and said, “Governor, I think you’ve misunderstood something.”
Yan Xiaoyi was silent for a moment and then said, “I just want to learn from your little tricks.”
Fan Xian was also silent for a moment. He then raised his hands in a salute and said, “Right now, we are in a time of peace. It is better for there to be less fighting.”
In the long corridor, there were only Fan Xian and Yan Xiaoyi facing each other. The scent of danger grew. Fan Xian knew that, within the Palace, there was no way Yan Xiaoyi would attack, so he was not very worried. He gazed calmly at the other party with his bright eyes.
The sound of coughing rang out. It was not old Eunuch Yao, rather, it was a somewhat short man with an attitude as imposing as the East Mountain who suddenly appeared beside the two of them.
Fan Xian smiled slightly and thought to himself that he had arrived at just the right time. He had no desire to carry out a battle of glares with Yan Xiaoyi.
“Governor Yan, Commissioner Fan, these are sacred Palace grounds. Please do not make such a clamor.”
When Ye Zhong was commander of the Jingdou garrison. Fan Xian had not yet been born, and Yan Xiaoyi was still hunting in the mountains. With his experience and position, his words carried much more weight.
Yan Xiaoyi started slightly and turned to greet him.
Fan Xian smiled and asked, “Uncle Ye, long time no see. How is Dingzhou?”
With Ye Zhong interrupting, Yan Xiaoyi closed his mouth and did not speak. Ye Zhong had noticed the tension between Yan Xiaoyi and Fan Xian. He furrowed his brows and thought to himself that the death of Yan Xiaoyi’s only son was still an unsolved case. Why was he so sure that it was Fan Xian who did it?
“I still have matters to handle. I will bid farewell first.” Fan Xian took this opportunity to quickly extricate himself.
Ye Zhong nodded his head.
Yan Xiaoyi said slowly, “Sir Fan junior, you must look after yourself.”
Fan Xian’s heart trembled slightly. He knew what the other party meant by this. A lofty emotion surged up from the bottom of his heart. He raised his hands to the skies and laughed loudly. “With the protection of the heavens, there is no need for you to worry.”
Yan Xiaoyi’s smile suddenly turned icy and piercing. He stared into Fan Xian’s eyes and bit each word off clearly. “The heavens cannot hide you from my eye. Fan Xian, you will die by my hand.”
They were still in the Royal Palace and Ye Zhong was still beside them, yet Yan Xiaoyi had the arrogance to make such a threat. Ye Zhong couldn’t help furrowing his brows, but he didn’t say anything.
Fan Xian watched this scene and couldn’t help but shake his head. Ye Zhong was the Second Prince’s father-in-law and now belonged to that side. Yet, Yan Xiaoyi did not show any concern in front of him. He was indeed arrogant and crazy to the extreme to threaten the life of the Emperor’s illegitimate child in the Royal Palace.
He gently shook his sleeves and raised his head with confidence. “Yan Xiaoyi, I dare to make a bet that you will first die by my hands and, furthermore, you will die feeling incomparably stupid.”
Having said this, he raised his hands to Ye Zhong. Without giving Yan Xiaoyi another glance, he waltzed toward the Palace doors.
Yan Xiaoyi narrowed his eyes and coldly watched the gradually retreating figure.
Ye Zhong was also looking at Fan Xian’s retreating figure and thought to himself, Just where did this young man get his self-confidence? He hoped there wouldn’t be any changes to the arrangements he had been making for a number of years because of Fan Xian. Although he thought this, he turned to look at Yan Xiaoyi and let out a sigh. He patted his shoulder and said, “Restrain your grief and accept fate. While you’re in the Palace, be careful of the walls that have ears. After all, he isn’t a normal person. He is the Emperor’s son.
Yan Xiaoyi’s expression didn’t change and he coldly said, “I also have a son.”
Arriving at the Palace gate, Fan Xian’s expression had long recovered its calm. Yan Xiaoyi and he had long reached the situation where only one of them could survive. There just needed to be a suitable time and place to realize it. Last time, the plan he had laid out was broken by Eunuch Hong. Would he sink into Yan Xiaoyi’s trap next time?
There was also that Thirteenth Wang. After he killed Yan Shengdu, he had suddenly disappeared without a trace. Fan Xian had no idea where he had gone.
As Fan Xian calculated in his heart, he walked out of the Palace. He saw, without surprise, the Great Prince beside him—the only military general in the royal family.
“What did you and Yan Xiaoyi talk about?” the Great Prince asked in a low voice.
“His son died, so he’s randomly accusing people,” Fan Xian replied with a smile. “He said he was going to kill me.”
The Great Prince furrowed his brows and said with slight anger, “What arrogance! Does he not know where he is?”
After Fan Xian thought for a long time, he said to the Great Prince, “Yan Xiaoyi’s contrary ambition is set. I think the Emperor can see that, but you need to be careful.”
The Great Prince started slightly, wondering where the word “contrary” came from.
Fan Xian climbed into his carriage and headed toward Fan manor. Along the way, he was thinking of this problem. The Emperor had to see the battle and murderous intent surging in Yan Xiaoyi. Why was he still releasing the tiger back into the mountain rather than keeping him trapped in the capital?
It was an interesting question.
He laughed self-mockingly to himself. When the day came, after who knew how long, that Yan Xiaoyi came to kill him or when he killed Yan Xiaoyi, the world would certainly become very interesting. And, the Emperor’s set up would presumably be in its final phase before completion.
On Jan. 15, there was no snow or wind in Jingdou. After night fell, colored lights hovered over the entire city, and people crowded on the dry streets. Women and men searched, by the reflection of the beautiful lights, for an appearance that appealed to them and avoided the commotions that annoyed them. The ladies with their blush and serving girls strolled around while courteous young men maintained a slight distance, quietly watching them.
Thoughts of love arrived early. Countless pairs of shoes were taken off in the streets. Hands stroked across an indeterminable amount of soft skin. The young men followed behind and sought the women’s names. Their eyes roved around probingly. The night progressed like this joyfully. The people being controlled by hormones collectively sank into a matchmaking activity without matchmakers.
For Qing court, the people’s happiness could not affect its austereness. Large palace lanterns were hung from the corners of the Royal Palace and activities such as riddles were provided in the Palace for the enjoyment of the empress dowager and other nobility. Under Fan Xian’s orders, even the square, grey, and strict Overwatch Council building had hung out some brilliantly red lanterns.
However, it was still very austere.
Because the movement of the military had begun long before the 15th, the Northern Governor had to lead the soldiers North to the Cangzhou and Yanjing regions to stand against the sharp gaze of the world-famous general. Ye Zhong had already returned to Dingzhou. The court once again sent soldiers to the West, choosing elite from the remaining military in the Five Roads to supplement the Dingzhou area. He then became the leader of an invincible 100,000-person army.
When spring arrived, these 100,000 soldiers would push West another 200 li in the name of applying pressure. If the Northern savages near Xi Lake made any unusual movements, these invincible Qing Kingdom soldiers would find an opportunity to launch a surprise attack and forcefully strip the Hu people off large parts of their land.
Soldiers were an important matter. Although it was only transfers and the battle had yet to start, the Six Ministries had long jumped into action to prepare for the handling of the aftermath. Fortunately, Qing Kingdom had risen to prosperity through war, so everything already had a set procedure. The cooperation between the departments appeared to be regular and methodical, with a high level of efficiency.
When they faced outsiders, Qing Kingdom was always this united. At this moment, no one remembered the conflict between the princes or how terrifying Fan Xian was.
Fan Xian was also busy for a number of days because the Overwatch Council provided intelligence to the military. They were also responsible for auditing the machinery and weapons each department set up. All kinds of matters suddenly piled up.
Fortunately, he had Yan Bingyun helping. Thus, on the night of the 15th, Fan Xian was able to enter the Palace to have a look at the legendary martial conference. The fights in front of the palace were indeed exciting. Qing Kingdom had a number of aces. However, without Yan Xiaoyi and Fan Xian’s battle to the death, the officials seemed unable to raise their interests.
No one was stupid enough to actively challenge Fan Xian to a fight because they were not Yan Xiaoyi. They didn’t want to die.
By the 22nd, the court and palace had already grown used to the anxiety due to the unusual movements at the border and gradually relaxed. Life carried on as usual. Food still had to be eaten, and clothing still had to be worn. Naturally, the nobles in the palace had to have new clothing for the New Year.
The Embroidery Office in the Palace sent out teams to various stalls to take over any embroidery cloths shipped in from across the ocean. The empress in the Eastern Palace did not like the colors Jiangnan offered last year and had asked for an edict earlier to order another batch.
Tasks that did not go through the palace treasury were often a great opportunity for managing eunuchs to earn a great deal of extra money. Commissions and gifts would probably be worth about 30 percent of the cost of the cloth. With one trip out of the palace, they could easily take a few thousand in banknotes into their sleeves.
In the past, because of the Second Prince’s favor, this task had always been given to Eunuch Dai in Lady Shu’s palace. However, it was clear that the Second Prince was not as in favor as in previous years. Since Eunuch Dai was involved in both a bribery incident and the assassination in Hanging Temple, he had been stripped of the majority of his power. Thus, the eyes of all the eunuchs in the palace began to glow. They all became active, wanting to take the position Eunuch Dai had in previous years.
After asking around a bit, all the eunuchs, including Eunuch Yao and Eunuch Hou, all stopped what they were doing because they heard that this year it was Hong Zhu, the leading eunuch in the Eastern Palace, who was responsible.
Hong Zhu was deeply trusted by the empress. In addition, the Emperor also seemed to like this agile little eunuch a great deal. Thus, his status in the palace grew each day. Even someone such as Eunuch Yao did not want to smear a mark across Hong Zhu’s glowing path, so he chose to retreat.
On this morning, an internal guard stood on duty outside a large shop. He couldn’t stop yawning because he believed no one would come here to make trouble. There were no nobles inside the shop or a eunuch. He thought about how he and other capable soldiers could not follow the Dingzhou army on the Western expedition but instead had to protect a mere eunuch. The guard’s mood could not help but be low, so his wariness was also greatly let down.
In a quiet room on the second floor, Hong Zhu was carefully scrutinizing the thread count and color of the cloths. Although it was a good opportunity to earn money, he was doing something for his mistress and had to take care. As for the shopkeeper and owner and of this Dongyi store, they had long been chased out by him.
The tips of Hong Zhu’s fingers were slightly shaky. Clearly, he was feeling a bit uneasy. He didn’t know when or how Sir Fan junior would be able to pull the wool over the guard’s eyes and ears to meet with him.
Just as he was fretting over this, the light in the room suddenly bent and the shadows changed very slightly.
“Who’s there?” Hong Zhu warily turned his body but did not call out his question.
Fan Xian, wearing the outfit of an ordinary customer, rubbed the corners of his eyebrows that were slightly sore after they were stuck down for disguise. He made a gesture toward Hong Zhu. He then took out a piece of jade from his clothing and handed it over.
This jade was the one he had obtained a few days ago from the Luochuan Gang with great difficulty.
Hong Zhu accepted the piece of jade with some confusion. He glanced at it and felt that it looked very unfamiliar. It seemed to be something from the Palace. Furthermore, the style and inscriptions gave him a sense of familiarity.
“This belongs to the Eastern Palace,” Fan Xian said quietly.
Hong Zhu pressed his lips together and said, “What do I do with it?”
Fan Xian told him a date and furrowed his brows. “Every time the Crown Prince goes to Guangxin Palace, it should be this date. You have more information inside the palace, so check to see if it’s accurate.”
Hong Zhu thought back, calculated and then nodded.
Fan Xian relaxed. This date was the result of Wang Qinian crouching outside the imperial relative’s manor every day for the past few days. That imperial relative was responsible for sending medicine into the Palace, and the date was fairly regular.
Fan Xian held Hong Zhu’s gaze and said, “After the cloth enters the Palace, following precedent, the Eastern Palace will send them out to various Palaces. If the empress has serving girls deliver cloth to Guangxin Palace, you should know when it is.”
“It’s usually in the afternoon of the next day.” Hong Zhu was a bit nervous. He didn’t understand how this matter was connected with the cloth.
“Very good. You are responsible for purchasing, so delay the time this batch of cloth enters the Palace,” Fan Xian said. “Calculate the time right so that when the Eastern Palace delivers the cloth to Guangxin Palace, the Crown Prince will also be there.’
Hong Zhu scratched the itchy spots on his face and asked hesitantly, “What good will this do?”
Fan Xian didn’t reply. Hong Zhu looked thoughtfully at the piece of jade in his hands and suddenly said with astonishment, “I think…this was previously used by mistress.”
“Correct,” Fan Xian said. “It was secretly sold by those little eunuchs under your command.”
“Those little bastards sure have the guts!” Hong Zhu spoke viciously. He abruptly forgot the current situation and unconsciously reverted back to his role as the leading Eunuch in the Eastern Palace. He was a major eunuch, so there were plenty of ways for him to make money. He did not need to resort to such tricks as thievery.
Suddenly, he came to himself again. He knew that Sir Fan junior did not intend for him to do anything so simple such as bringing order to the Eastern Palace. He looked at Fan Xian’s not-quite-smiling face and asked in a trembling voice, “What do I do with…this piece of jade?”
Hong Zhu was a clever man and immediately understood. However, he had still not connected this entire thing to Guangxin Palace.
Fan Xian did not have more time to explain. He heard the footsteps downstairs and moved close to Hong Zhu’s ear to remind him of a few things. He told him not to worry about anything as long as he completed these three things well and did not do anything else. Fan Xian reminded him to be careful of his safety and to not be implicated in it.
A knock rang out from outside. Fan Xian flashed and disappeared from the room.
The owner of this store entered respectfully and asked whether or not Eunuch Hong had any other orders.
Hong Zhu looked at the empty air beside him. His mind wandered. A moment later, he remembered Fan Xian’s orders. He furrowed his brows and said in a reedy voice, “This cloth…does not seem the same as the one my mistress asked for initially.”
The owner started and cried out bitterly in his heart, “What are you saying…I am just a small business owner. How could I dare lie to the nobles in the Palace?”
As they talked, a few banknotes were stuffed into Hong Zhu’s sleeves.
Hong Zhu’s gaze slanted and was very pleased with the amount. However, he still could not let it go and furrowed his brows. “Is there something wrong with the yellow in this flower? It looks slightly different…particularly the thread count in these ones. They just don’t feel very thick.”
“How could it be thick?” the owner asked with a pained expression. He was cursing up a storm in his heart. “This is proper foreign cloth. Three layers of blended fabric and 36 stitches. There is no better.”
Hong Zhu chuckled and said, “Is that so? However, I’m not in a rush. Go back and check it carefully. I’ll come back in a few days to collect it.”
The owner panicked. “Sir, the empress wants this urgently. If it’s delayed, not just me, but perhaps even you…”
Hong Zhu was not happy hearing these words. He glared and said darkly, “You listen to me carefully, the Palace will want this cloth when I am satisfied…what kind of status does the empress have? How could she bother with such trivial things?”
Having said this, Hong Zhu shook his sleeve and went downstairs. His expression was unpleasant.
The owner followed behind. He knew he had offended this powerful eunuch and was crying out bitterly in his heart. He wondered how many banknotes he would have to give to the eunuch during this delay. He had no idea that the unpleasant expression on Hong Zhu’s face was because he was terrified and excited.
Hong Zhu knew what he was doing with Sir Fan junior and knew that he, a mere eunuch, would also be able to change the course of Qing Kingdom’s history. His heart was not a eunuch, rather, it was a scholar. A scholar’s greatest wish was to govern the world and bring peace. It was not until today that Hong Zhu finally felt that, as a eunuch, he was also able to change this world.