Joy of Life - Chapter 507 - The More Silence, The More Joy[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:49:32]
Chapter 507: The More Silence, The More Joy
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The feast progressed relatively smoothly, at least on the surface. Fan Sizhe smiled superficially as he received the pair of jade lions from Marquis Chang’an.
As the owner, Fan Sizhe habitually swept his gaze across Baoyue Brothel’s main hall. Baoyue Brothel had been completely booked by him. There were no other guests. Sitting beside him, Wei Hua furrowed his brows slightly, thinking, Who else was coming? How come he wasn’t informed ahead of time?
Looking at Fan Sizhe’s expression, one immediately knew that the coming guest was someone of importance. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have unsuppressed anticipation and nervousness. If the guest was someone of importance, why didn’t he wait for them to arrive before starting the feast?
Wei Hua unconsciously shook his head. A bitter self-mocking smile rose to the corners of his lips. He knew that when it came to the brothers of the Fan family, one could not judge them based on common sense. He had taken over Shen Zhong’s old position and was now the Commander of the Brocade Guards. Most of Northern Qi’s special service organizations were under his control. The young Northern Qi Emperor trusted him greatly. He held great power. Once he met with the Fan brothers from the South, Wei Hua felt faintly nervous.
Fan Xian controlled the Overwatch Council. He was truly Wei Hua’s “colleague” in the same profession. However, Wei Hua knew that he had not been in this business as long as Fan Xian and the Northern court’s Brocade Guards were not as powerful as the Southern court’s Overwatch Council. Thus, if the two of them actually competed across country borders, he was definitely not a match.
As for Fan Sizhe, Wei Hua looked at the slightly chubby youth next to him, who was looking after the guests, and furrowed his brows slightly. Concerning him, he admitted that he had misjudged him two years ago. Initially, he had thought that Fan Xian was just using the leverage in his hands to send his brother to Northern Qi to flee a crisis. He had not thought that after a year, Fan Sizhe, while hidden behind the scenes, would have seized complete control of the old Cui family’s trading route and helped business secretly flourish.
It was not the commercial sense and power that a young man normally had.
Wei Hua patted his head and smiled slightly as he drank a cup with Fan Sizhe. He joked for a bit. Fan Sizhe’s purpose for inviting everyone was clear. The smuggled goods from the South needed someone to collect them after arriving in the North. They couldn’t have a Qing person openly selling them in Northern Qi. In the past, it had always been the Wei family, Marquis Changning in particular, who had done it. Fan Sizhe’s boldness was growing, so he felt that Marquis Changning’s family was taking the goods too slowly. Thus, he had also brought Marquis Chang’an into this.
Wei Hua was not bothered by this arrangement. It was not because Marquis Chang’an was his uncle. Rather, he knew that the Wei family was just a puppet the Emperor placed in front of the stage. Most of the profits flowed through this business endlessly into the Emperor’s palace treasury and national treasury.
No matter how crazy Fan Sizhe got, he was on Northern Qi soil. Wei Hua had sufficient power to control him. Once things were no longer harmonious, the Brocade Guards could easily clean out Fan Sizhe’s business.
However, this was the final resort, Wei Hua would never do such a thing. He wouldn’t even ask for an edict because Northern Qi needed the goods Fan Xian brought out from the Qing palace treasury. Wei Hua was scared of Fan Xian’s sinister methods and that he would be unreasonable.
The curtain to Baoyue Brothel moved slightly. Two girls entered together. Wei Hua’s hand holding the wine cup shook. He almost spilled his drink.
He recognized both of the girls. This was also one of the reasons Wei Hua was deeply afraid of Fan Xian.
Haitang and Fan Ruoruo.
Wei Hua rose to welcome them and turned around to mockingly scold Fan Sizhe. He invited the two respected heirs of Tianyi Dao to sit at the high table.
The scene became momentarily awkward.
Every Northern Qi person knew that the empress dowager wanted Haitang to marry Wei Hua. However, Haitang had some unexplainable relationship with Fan Xian.
Wei Hua forced a laugh and said to Haitang, “Second Fan invited you, and you came. You’re really not giving me any face.”
Haitang smiled and accepted the jade lion Fan Sizhe handed over to play with it. “You just like to run your mouth.”
Wei Hua laughed loudly and didn’t say anything more. He knew that she was not a woman he could touch. When the empress dowager expressed her intentions, he had, at the first moment, entered the Palace to tactfully decline. However, it had no effect. The empress dowager’s love for the descendants of his family were always unreasonable.
The empress dowager was unreasonable. Fan Xian was unreasonable. Wei Hua did not have such daring. This matter was too much of an offense toward Fan Xian. If he married a ninth-level ace into his family, where was his husbandly authority? Besides, although Haitang was lovely and intelligent, her appearance was truly very average.
Last year, Wei Hua’s sister had followed Lang Tiao far away to Jiangnan. When they passed Wuzhou, she had gotten into an argument with Fan Xian. Wei Hua well knew Fan Xian’s petty nature would remember this grudge, so he had unwillingly written a great deal of praise and finally quelled Fan Xian’s anger.
As his thoughts floated through these years, Wei Hua couldn’t help losing his composure and sighing mournfully. Fan Xian, ah, Fan Xian. You really give me no face. You always have to push me down in everything. We were in the same position, why rush to make enemies of each other? Why couldn’t he, the Commander of the Brocade Guards, live his life as smoothly as the Commissioner of the Overwatch Council?
Ever since Haitang and Fan Ruoruo entered Baoyue Brothel, the feast in the hall had become quieter. The shrewd elders of the Wei family put on their elderly appearance and chatted with each of the girls. However, they were thinking they had initially wanted to take more money for the Emperor in this negotiation. Now that these two had arrived, particularly Haitang, just which way did she bend? Thus, they slowed down their attacks toward Fan Sizhe.
Fan Sizhe’s expression was calm. He smiled slightly as he spoke. During the leisurely chatting, he stated clearly the division of profits in the coming year and details of the deal. He had asked Haitang and his sister here to give himself a bit more leverage. It would at least mess with the Northern Qi people’s minds.
In name, this was a negotiation between himself and the Wei family. In reality, although not everyone knew about Fan Xian and the Northern Qi Emperor’s collusion, Marquis Changning, who ran the Wei family, knew everything about it.
After the wine had been passed around three times, the discussions came to an end. Both sides drank happily and left. However, Wei Hua’s expression was not very joyous. It was very clear that in his new cycle of splitting the profits, it was still Fan Sizhe who took the lion’s share.
The night gradually grew darker. Haitang held the gentle jade lion and glanced at Fan Sizhe with almost a smile and left, leaving Baoyue Brothel to the brother and sister.
“I don’t like Haitang.” In a room in the Shangjing branch of Baoyue Brothel, Fan Sizhe furrowed his brows and spoke.
“Now you’re becoming more and more old and serious.” Fan Ruoruo patted his brother’s head out of habit and smiled slightly. “What’s bad about sister disciple? You aren’t still angry about her using you as a donkey, right?
Fan Sizhe shook his head and said, “That was brother’s intention. He wanted me to struggle. I understand.”
Fan Ruoruo looked at her brother in surprise and tilted her head. “You are truly becoming more and more old-fashioned. You’re really not like a child.”
Fan Sizhe smiled self-mockingly and said, “In this place, there isn’t anyone I can trust. I have no choice but to be careful. Oh yes, sister, you said old-fashioned…” His spirit suddenly became excited. “Are you saying that I am becoming more and more like brother?”
Fan Sizhe asked this with great excitement. In his heart, his older brother Fan Xian was his idol. If he could become more like his brother’s image, the more pleased he would be.
Fan Ruoruo covered her mouth and laughed. “More like you are becoming more and more like father. Looks like father’s past beatings of you were somewhat effective.”
She paused and said, “Earlier, you said you didn’t like Haitang. Why exactly is that?”
Fan Sizhe looked into his sister’s eyes calmly and didn’t speak for a while.
Fan Ruoruo looked calmly at him.
“Sister, you should understand,” Fan Sizhe said seriously. “We already have a sister-in-law.”
Fan Ruoruo’s brows furrowed together as she sighed. “Yes.”
Fan Sizhe furrowed his brows and thought for a moment before quietly saying, “Brother doesn’t know, but during this year, sister-in-law has written many letters to me.”
Fan Ruoruo was slightly surprised and asked, “What did she say?”
“What else could she say? Of course, it was about how the family was, how father and mother were.” Fan Sizhe sighed. “With me being in a foreign country by myself, of course, sister-in-law is worried. To speak truthfully, during this year, anytime I have something I can’t figure out, I never wanted to bother brother. It is all sister-in-law who has helped give me ideas.”
Fan Ruoruo gradually processed her shock. This was also her first time learning of this. After thinking it over for a while, she extracted many things from it and dimly said, “Sister-in-law… She is a very pitiful person. As you know, the Eldest Princess has been imprisoned by the Emperor in the side courtyard and brother is in Jiangnan.”
“Brother only knew to kick me to the North.” Fan Sizhe’s tone was full of displeasure. “Although I know it was to train me, did he ever think about how young I was? Such a big mess. How could I deal with it? He only knew to let go. He is nowhere as thoughtful and considerate as sister-in-law.”
Fan Ruoruo furrowed her brows and scolded, “Brother doesn’t have it easy in the South. If he didn’t stand firmly, how could you stand firm in the North? When did he just let go? The Qingyu Hall shopkeepers are all secretly helping you. The Overwatch Council’s network in Northern Qi are also working for you. In order to train you, he has put down a great deal of blood capital. As for training, it’s not like you don’t know what kind of person he is. He grew up alone in Danzhou. Who knows what hardships he had to endure to be where he is today. He believes in this way. This is how he treats himself. We are his younger siblings, of course, he would also choose this method.”
After a stream of scolding, Fan Sizhe felt he had traveled back in time to Jingdou a few years ago. At that time, he, who was neither afraid of the sky nor the earth. He was only afraid of the metal ruler in his sister’s hands. At once, he softened. After being speechless for a while, he mumbled, “In any case… I don’t like Haitang.”
Fan Ruoruo sighed. “You know how much help Haitang has secretly helped brother.”
“It is only an exchange of benefits. Other than the passed away Zhuang Mohan, how many Northern Qi people are truly saints who have no connection to material goods?” Fan Sizhe laughed coldly. “Even though you’ve now entered Ku He’s tutelage and I am a second to none businessman, if brother is no longer useful to Northern Qi, I’m afraid we will immediately be stepped on by others. At that time, I don’t expect Haitang will come to our rescue.”
Fan Ruoruo said seriously, “My opinion is the opposite of yours.”
Fan Sizhe shook his head and gloomily and said, a moment later, “In all things there is always an order of precedence, right?”
Fan Ruoruo thought in silence for a long time. She then slowly nodded her head. She felt an incomparable pity for her respectful and loveable sister-in-law, who was used to silence and pain, so she agreed with her brother’s opinion. However, suddenly, an absurd thought surged into her mind. If they were speaking of order of precedence, wasn’t she the person who arrived at her brother’s side first? It was only the teasing of fate. A bitterness rose to the corner of her lips. She immediately suppressed these emotions that she shouldn’t have and worried, with her brother, about the fate of sister-in-law Lin Wan’er.
“Brother definitely isn’t a fickle man of few feelings. However, sister-in-law is stuck between the Eldest Princess and brother. There is really nowhere for her to stand.”
“Don’t think so much.” Fan Sizhe shrugged. “The important issue right now is brother’s situation in the South.”
“Seeing you host a big feast tonight, I thought you had forgotten the situation in your joy.”
“With the Eldest Princess having fallen, I have to use this opportunity to earn some money,” Fan Sizhe said. “However, with only brother’s faction in power in court right now, I always feel like something is going to go wrong.”
“Perhaps you’re thinking too far. He isn’t the only power in court. He is just standing at the heart of everything.” Fan Ruoruo smiled slightly. “No matter whether it is family matters or national matters, neither seem like something the two of us, as strangers in a strange land, can worry about.”
Fan Sizhe thought that given sister’s usual attitude, she should be very worried about Fan Xian’s safety. How come she appeared so indifferent? But, he didn’t dare criticize his sister. Unconsciously, he asked, “Whose poem was that?”
“I thought he stopped writing poems?”
“He stopped writing them in front of outsiders.”
“Hmm… Then, we really shouldn’t do anything?”
“What can we be worried about?” Fan Ruoruo’s calm expression showed a confidence in her elder brother. “He worked hard to send us to Northern Qi so that we wouldn’t be involved in these things. If we really want to do right by him, then we have to live well here and not make him worry.”
“How should we live well?”
“Are you happy being a boss?”
“It’s not bad. Although, it’s quite troublesome at times.”
“I’m going to the hospital tomorrow. I also think this kind of life is very joyful. Brother once said, to live in this world, one has to find something one likes to do.”
“Since we have already found them, then we should continue doing them well. The safer we are, the happier we are,” Fan Ruoruo said decisively. “And, the more at ease brother will be. We will also have contributed to the family.”