Joy of Life - Chapter 514 - Waves Growing From The Precipice[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:49:35]
Chapter 514: Waves Growing From The Precipice
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Bird cries rang out along the shore. The ripples under the dock gently slapped against each other while in the distance, the large waves crashed into the precipice, making periodic booms punctuated by silence. Fan Xian stood on the wooden boards and was not moved by the Emperor’s hot-blooded words. Seriously, he said, “Your Majesty, you should not have come so unexpectedly. I ask again for Your Majesty to return to the capital.”
“There is the empress dowager keeping watch in Jingdou, plus there are Chen Pingping and the two scholars. Who would dare act without permission?” The Emperor gazed at the ocean and waved his hand impatiently. “If one wants to take over the world, they must take over that chair. Thus, they must first kill me as I sit on that chair. If they can’t kill me, they can go make all the noise they want. When trash rebels, it won’t succeed even in 10 years.”
Fan Xian was silent and speechless. He thought to himself that the Emperor was truly a strange one. Extraordinarily strong self-confidence mixed in with extraordinarily powerful paranoia created the man’s extremely narcissistic personality. The Emperor wanted to play at drawing the snake out of its cave. One day, he may die to his narcissism. The problem was that Fan Xian did not want to become a funerary object.
“An Zhi, you must know that it is very difficult to see someone’s heart clearly.”
The Emperor suddenly became emotional. It was unclear whether he was talking about his son or his sister. After these moving words left his mouth, his expression was suddenly clouded with a layer of tiredness. The lines around his brows and eyes appeared incredibly tired.
This exhaustion wasn’t like the ones he feigned while sitting in court on the dragon chair for his officials to see. Rather, it was a true exhaustion that came from the depths of his heart.
Fan Xian quietly scrutinized the Emperor’s expression and appearance with countless thoughts flashing through his head. This was his first time seeing such a true and intimate expression on the Emperor’s face.
However, the movement of this kind of truthful expression was like the clouds above the port in Danzhou. It was burst open occasionally to block the piercing light only to immediately disperse and dissolve into the porcelain blue sky. In a flash, no trace of the emotion could be found on the Emperor’s face.
What was left was a brilliant self-confidence and perseverance. After showing his mortal heart, he immediately recovered his role as a monarch.
Seeing this scene, Fan Xian couldn’t help but feel a little moved and sighed. “That is why people say that one can paint a person and a tiger, but it is difficult to paint the bones. It is difficult to know one’s face and person but not one’s heart. Usually, they could be soft and agreeable, but who knows whether or not one day they will pick up two straight knives and plunge it into your heart.”
It was clear that the Emperor did not care who Fan Xian was sighing about. He was just reminiscing about the past while surrounded by this kind of emotion. He stared into the ocean in a daze and faintly said, “Perhaps the world thinks I am someone without heart or emotions. Actually, they are all wrong.”
Fan Xian quietly watched the Emperor and didn’t comment.
The Emperor slowly said, “I have given them too many chances and hoped they would suddenly and completely repent. Even up to now, I am still giving them chances. If it were not for emotions, why would I rush about like this?”
Thinking silently to himself, Fan Xian wondered whether it was emotion or a sickness that made the Emperor lure and force others to make mistakes. He tested the Crown Prince’s and Second Prince’s hearts and watched closely their struggles these years.
“Such as your mother…” The Emperor’s eyes squinted slightly as if he felt that the sun that had drifted out of the clouds was too piercing.
Fan Xian’s heart tightened slightly. He listened carefully to each of the Emperor’s words.
The Emperor glanced at him and then turned his face away again. Faintly, he said, “The Qing Kingdom owes her a great debt. For myself, it could be said that our affection was boundless. However, one day everything changed. She and her entire Ye family became just a past event. She died tragically, while I had long hidden the emotions. Although I have made compensations later, I have truly done very little to repay her gratitude and loyalty.”
Fan Xian understood what he was talking about. After his mother died, the Emperor had endured four years before sweeping clean the royalty and nobility that were involved in the matter. However, he had left behind a few important figures. If this was said to be a revenge, it was done very incompletely.
Faintly, the Emperor said, “I have never spoken of it, nor have the two have them ever asked. But I know, they are both unsatisfied and feel resentment toward me…” Suddenly, a self-mocking twist rose to the corners of his lips. “But, what could I have done? To never speak further of this, to absorb the Ye family into the national treasury, and to cast the Ye family as traitors, was heartless. If I were to reverse the verdict on the Ye family, what was the empress dowager to do? Did I have to depose the empress and kill her before it could be said that I truly had a heart and loyalty?”
The Emperor’s tone remained calm and without a trace of excitement. Fan Xian found it admirable. He knew that the “they” who had resentment in their hearts referred to his father, Fan Jian, and the Director, Chen Pingping.
“As a monarch, it is impossible to wander across the world without any stumbling,” the Emperor calmly said. “If I had truly done that, I would still be a merciless person. Furthermore, what would happen to the entire court? I think, if she was alive, she would definitely approve of what I did.”
“She wanted a powerful and wealthy Qing Kingdom, and I have achieved that.” An expression of unswerving determination appeared on the Emperor’s face. “Looking around the world, Qing Kingdom is the most powerful country. The people of Qing Kingdom are also living better than at any other point in history. I think this would comfort her heart.”
Fan Xian remained silent. In the years after his rebirth, he often asked himself what kind of country was Qing Kingdom and what kind of man was the Emperor. Although he gained a deeper understanding of all this after he entered the capital and finally came into contact with the Emperor’s self-confident, narcissistic, self-aggrandising, and self-abusive heart, he had to admit one point. Even if there had been flooding the year before last and a snowstorm this year, with the efficiency of the Qing Kingdom’s bureaucratic system, the wealth of the people, and the well-order politics, it was countless times better compared to the history books he had read in his previous life.
At this moment, Qing Kingdom was, without question, prosperous and wealthy. The Emperor standing next to him was a wise monarch, even a holy monarch, if his goal was to have the people be full.
“She said that the court officials needed to be watched. Fine. While I was still a Crown Prince, I asked father to set up the Overwatch Council.”
“She said that eunuchs were both pitiful and hateful. Thus, I have closely followed the rules from the establishing of this country and strictly prohibited eunuchs from participating in politics. At the same time, I have also ordered Taichang Temple to audit the number of eunuchs to reduce their presence as much as possible in the palace.”
Fan Xian repeatedly nodded his head. There were indeed a great deal fewer eunuchs in the Qing Royal Palace compared to Northern Qi. Without question, this was a virtuous decree.
“She said that a wise monarch should be able to accept admonishments. Fine. I allowed the Imperial Censor the right to discuss matters through hearsay.”
The Emperor spoke quicker and quicker and became more and more lost in thought. Fan Xian couldn’t help but bite the tender flesh inside his lip to remind himself that he shouldn’t laugh. He had thought of the Imperial Censorates bottom after it had been beaten in court.
“She said there needed to be reform to treat the corrupt practices at their root. Fine. I have also listened to her. I changed the reign title, the system, and pushed new policies…”
Fan Xian finally couldn’t resist laughing bitterly.
The changing of the reign title in the Qing calendar was already the third change. The Ministry of War became the Department of Army Affairs. It then became the present-day Bureau of Military Affairs. The Imperial Academy separated into the Tongwen Institute and became the Ministry of Education before it changed back. Even the ancient to present day six ministries were almost renamed by this Emperor.
The Qing Emperor’s life was filled with meritorious and eye-catching contributions. However, these three new policies became an absurd matter that he would never be able to avoid. Even to today, when the common people in Jingdou spoke of these departments, they were filled with confusion. Every time they wanted to go somewhere, they had to give a number of names.
If it weren’t for the powerful military force of royal authority and valiant implementation by Qing officials, who managed to twist things back to what they were like and leave behind only an inharmonious name, Qing Kingdom would probably be in turmoil.
The Emperor looked at his expression and laughed self-mockingly. “You don’t need to hide it. I know this is one of the rare times I became muddled. However, at that time, your mother was already gone. I only had a general idea, so it was inevitable for me to make a few mistakes.”
Fan Xian was slightly moved. He thought to himself, After his mother died, the Emperor continued to keep his word. From this, one had to admit that in this matter, the Emperor was not an emotionless being.
“Before your mother passed, I listened to her a great deal. However, I wasn’t able to do anything for her later…” the Emperor closed his eyes and faintly said. “So, after she passed, I remembered everything she had once talked to me about. I wanted to help her make it a reality. It could be considered a kind of promise to her, as well as regret.”
Fan Xian sighed and said, “If mother was still alive, she would certainly be grateful for your affection.”
“No, it’s not affection,” the Emperor opened his eyes and quietly said. “It is only loyalty. As for gratitude, that is impossible. I just want to do something to offer to her spirit. I don’t desire anything else.”
The Emperor suddenly smiled and said, “She had once very regretfully spoken of such a thing as a newspaper and said that there was no gossip and sensational news to read. So, I had the internal court create a newspaper with flowery borders on it. Thinking of it now, I was very troublesome.”
Fan Xian was dumbstruck and speechless. The newspaper of the internal court was known as the most useless thing in Qing Kingdom. It was personally written by the great scholar and calligrapher, Sir Pan Ling. It was sent to the various Roads, provinces, and counties, and kept only by the officials and nobility. If it was on the market, one page of the newspaper could be sold for a great deal of silver.
Back when he lived in Danzhou, Fan Xian had stolen newspapers from the old manor to sell for money. Naturally, he was very familiar with newspapers. At that time, he had been extremely disdainful of the gossip in these so-called “newspapers” and was very confused by the flowery borders [JW1] on the paper. However, the answer to all this was because his mother had wanted to read gossip papers and listen to sensational news.
Fan Xian looked at the Emperor with a strange expression and forcefully pushed down the words that were about to leave his mouth. He had originally wanted to remind the Emperor that the so-called “flowery borders news” was not referring to the lines of flowers drawn on the sides of the newspaper.
The Emperor did not notice his expression and became happier the more he talked. “Your mother was most curious about stories from Chen Pingping’s past. Thus, in the fourth year of the Qing Calendar, I had the internal newspaper write a great deal about him while I had sent that old dog back to his hometown to visit relatives. If your mother could see it, presumably she would be happy.”
Fan Xian laughed out loud. He remembered the story. In the spring of the fourth year of the Qing calendar, he was heading to Jingdou from Danzhou. At that time, the biggest events in Jingdou were the exposure of Prime Minister Lin Ruofu’s illegitimate daughter and the marriage alliance to the Fan family, and the internal court’s massive reveal of stories from Director Chen’s youth without fear of the Overwatch Council.
The sun by the sea gradually rose and moved from their front to their back, casting the Emperor and Fan Xian’s shadows onto the occasionally rising surface of the ocean. The sea water happened to join in and reduced the waves a great deal, gradually becoming calm. It reflected the blurry shadows of the two people more and more clearly.
Fan Xian held back a smile and lowered his head, thinking, The Emperor was just a mortal after all. Just as he could not forget the Qing Temple, he couldn’t forget Danzhou. In this world, it was probably only on the Danzhou docks that the Emperor would say so much.
This was a conversation that should not have happened between an official and monarch. It made Fan Xian develop a great deal more positive feelings for the Emperor and a deeper understanding of him. At the same time, it also created more worries.
He sighed and directed his gaze on to the ocean. He told himself that the worries in his heart were, in the end, about future matters. The worries in front of him were already sufficiently scary.
“What are you worried about?” the Emperor was feeling rather relaxed and asked casually.
Fan Xian considered for a moment then said, “The Admiral of the Jiaozhou Navy is a disciple of the Qin family.”
When the Emperor formally went out on an inspection tour, the necessary honor guard was immense. Even though the Qing Emperor had always been simple, the court put down a great deal of effort when it came to defensive power. On land, the provincial soldiers were outside, while the Imperial Guards were within. In addition, there was a squad of aces and Eunuch Hong, that strange old creature. It could be considered an impenetrable castle.
While travelling by sea, the Jiaozhou Navy’s battleships had received orders and arrived. They were responsible for defending against dangers from the sea. As Fan Xian spoke, his eyes were narrowed. He stared at the surface of the ocean, fixed on the ships the Jiaozhou Navy had sent to protect the Emperor.
The Emperor’s expression was calm. It seemed like he had not taken Fan Xian’s reminder to heart and said, “One day, I will give you justice for the incident of the valley. However, old General Qin is a foundation rock of the country. Do not doubt each other. Since you have already moved the Black Knights over, there is no need to worry about an attack within a hundred li. Why always make accusations like a homeless dog?”
Only now did Fan Xian remember another one of the Emperor’s identities that had not been used in a long time. He was a famous general in the army. He smiled and accepted the order without saying anything more.
[JW1] “Flowery borders” and Sensational News” use the same characters and sound the same. Hence the Emperor’s mix up.