Joy of Life - Chapter 518[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:49:36]
Chapter 518: The Crescent Moon Shines On Dong Mountain
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
In the quiet side courtyard, a guard was patrolling outside a window. It seemed as if he was blind and deaf. The Eldest Princess, who he was supposed to be keeping an eye on, was secretly plotting something with her trusted aide.
“He’s is too overly suspicious, so there is no need to plan anything. He will jump out and plan it himself.” Lin Yunrui slowly closed her eyes. “Furthermore, he is arrogant to the point that we will be able to beat him at his own game. That piece of sh*t! What plan is there? It is just him playing by himself.”
She suddenly opened her eyes and said, “However, I am afraid that brother will be lonely, so I can only play along. An assassination at Dong Mountain seems to have become an absurd and public matter. He knows I want to kill him and is waiting for me to do it.”
Yuan Hongdao listened and looked at the smile at the corners of the Eldest Princess’ lips. He did not find it amusing. On the contrary, he felt a faint chill. The Eldest Princess knew clearly that Dong Mountain was a setup, yet she was still going into walk into it without a second thought. Did she really think that Ye Liuyun, a Great Grandmaster, could change the entire world?
After Huang Yi’s death, he had become Li Yunrui’s closest strategist. He knew that although the Eldest Princess had seemingly been forced back step by step by the Emperor and Fan Xian with no more brilliant moves to execute, in terms of plotting and strategizing, she really didn’t have much of a need for him.
It was because of this that he did not clearly understanding the details of the Eldest Princess’ last plan. He was unable to report to the Council and Emperor.
As a strategist in such a crucial moment, there were some suggestions Yuan Hongdao had to make regardless of whether it was for a disguise or to win someone’s trust. He looked into the Eldest Princess’ eyes and quietly said, “Amusement is sometimes the joining of absurdity and stupidity. I don’t know just which side is absurd and which is stupid. Since the person who started to move first was the Emperor, then you should choose the other path. Otherwise, no matter how you move, your pieces will always be one step behind your opponent’s.”
The Eldest Princess Li Yunrui slowly closed her eyes. After a long silence, she said, “Another path? You are urging me to temporarily not move.”
The Eldest Princess suddenly opened her eyes and smiled. Her smile was very pure and innocent. “What use is there in not moving? If the heaven worship at Dong Mountain concludes successfully… Mother will eventually pass one day. Do you expect me to be imprisoned in this courtyard forever?”
Yuan Hongdao was silent for a long time then smiled. Since he could easily enter the courtyard, the Eldest Princess certainly had many ways to leave it. He knew the Eldest Princess was only thinking about the future of Qing Kingdom. Regardless of which angle, if they didn’t grasp this opportunity with the Emperor out of the capital and the Eldest Princess wanted to rise again, what chance did she have?
“Fan Xian.” Yuan Hongdao tried to persuade the Eldest Princess. Before the Council gave further instructions, he wanted to do best to delay the Eldest Princess’ actions. “This is your opportunity.”
“Fan Xian?” The Eldest Princess became interested and smiled slightly. “Even if the Emperor wanted to take away Fan Xian’s power, this won’t be my opportunity.”
“Nothing is so simple as taking away power,” Yuan Hongdao lowered his voice and said. “Fan Xian’s relationship with the North is too intimate. Once the Emperor has calmed the internal conflict in court, the tip of his knife is going to point to Northern Qi. It is worth thinking about what Fan Xian would do. This may be your opportunity.”
“So, I have to stay alive?” The Eldest Princess laughed self-mockingly.
“You have to stay alive.”
She laughed somewhat lazily and didn’t comment. Her orchid-like hands tapped the teacup on the table. In the time it took for Yuan Hongdao to rise and pour the tea, she had slowly lowered her face and was thinking quietly. Yuan Hongdao’s thinking wasn’t wrong. He didn’t understand just what kind of a person the Emperor was.
In this world, only the Eldest Princess Li Yun Rui knew best what kind of person her brother was. Only she knew that this was an opportunity the Emperor was giving her. If she didn’t grasp it, there was no need to talk about the future at all.
The Emperor had too many opportunities to kill her, but he didn’t. It was because he hoped to use her to draw out the Junshang Conference people, who had long hidden in court.
She thought to herself that if she won, it wouldn’t matter much. Even if she lost and the Emperor was able to achieve his goal, that would also be good. A devious smile appeared once more at the corners of her lips.
“Brother Hongdao, say, for something like killing, what does it, in the end, depend on?”
Yuan Hongdao thought for a bit and then replied, “Time, opportunity, and situation.”
“Correct but also incorrect.” The Eldest Princess slowly lowered her head. “In the end, it actually comes down to the crudest, most boring, and direct things. It depends on whose knife is faster and who has the most helpers.”
“Fighting for the dragon chair is essentially no different to the gangs on the jianghu fighting for territory. The Emperor is overly suspicious and arrogant. He thinks he can calculate the world, but he has forgotten that not all the knives are in his hand. Don’t forget something I’ve said previously, he who is overly suspicious will certainly fall without question.”
The Eldest Princess’ cold words set the tone for the entire matter.
Yuan Hongdao laughed and knew that he couldn’t convince the Eldest Princess anymore. He was worried, but he hid it well and said, “Contact has been made with the Crown Prince and Second Prince. Once the message arrives, they will make the arrangements. There shouldn’t be any problems with the civil officials. Mournful news can always knock down their defenses. Regardless of which angle, they have no reason to refuse.”
“What you said makes sense,” the Eldest Princess smiled slightly and said. “The Overwatch Council still cannot see the light of day. They are a powerful tool. But, in some moments, they will never be a decisive power. As long as the officials and Palace give their support, what can Chen Pingping do?”
Then she smiled slightly and said, “I hear that Wan’er has been looking after the concubine that is about to give birth. Go make plans for this matter.”
At the tip of Dong Mountain, Fan Xian, outside of the door, looked at the man on the praying mat. The blind man, whose figure was not very large, had a piece of black cloth over him. He always appeared so calm. Fan Xian opened his mouth but didn’t say anything.
The Emperor laughed and turned to leave the uncle and nephew alone.
Fan Xian walked in and carefully closed the door. After checking that there was no one eavesdropping nearby, he allowed his joy to rise onto his face. He grabbed the blind man in a hug, patting him gently on the back.
Wu Zhu was still cold, but this kind of cold was not the same as Sir Yan. It was not an expression of self-protection. Rather, it was a sense that external things had no ties in his heart and of an absolute internal calm.
When Fan Xian held him tightly in his joy, the corners of the blind man’s lips, behind Fan Xian’s head where he couldn’t see, crinkled slightly in a rarely seen warm smile.
It was a pity that Fan Xian didn’t see. He would have certainly had some strange action.
They hugged and immediately parted. Wu Zhu was not someone who liked to be physically intimate with other people. Fan Xian was the same. The embrace only happened because Fan Xian could not suppress the joy in his heart at meeting again.
The two of them sat on the praying mat and looked at each other. They were silent for a long time.
Fan Xian’s expression became warmer and happier. He confirmed that his uncle’s injuries were almost recovered, but he didn’t know what to say or where to start. Since a year and a half ago when they separated, he had gone south to Jiangnan to battle the Ming family, been attacked in the valley, killed people at night in Jingdou, and experienced countless dangers.
None of this was probably what Uncle Wu Zhu wanted to hear about. These things didn’t matter much to him. Who were the Ming family? Wu Zhu didn’t care at all. As for the dangerous situation in the valley, Wu Zhu would only think that Fan Xian had performed badly.
After being silent for a long time, Fan Xian opened his mouth and said, “Uncle, I’m going to be a father.”
After hearing these words, Wu Zhu, whose expression wouldn’t change even if Dong Mountain’s summit was pressing down on him, became uncharacteristically heavy. It was as if he was slowly digesting the information. He slightly tilted his head and said, “You are also having a child?”
This “also” encapsulated countless messages. For Wu Zhu, there were only two people in this world. Nothing else existed. For him, only the matters of these two people were worth remembering.
Twenty years ago, that woman had a child. Twenty years later, the woman’s child was going to have a child. Although the two events were separated by two decades, he felt as if they had happened one after another. Thus, the use of the word “also.”
The corners of his lips once again gave a warm smile. He said to Fan Xian seriously, “Congratulations.”
Because of this smile and one word, Fan Xian sank into boundless shock and joy. He didn’t understand how after not seeing Uncle Wu Zhu for a year, he would say such a common word and be so generous as to demonstrate in front of him his most human side. When was the last time he saw Uncle Wu Zhu’s smile? Probably when he had brought up his mother in that junk shop in Danzhou.
Fan Xian didn’t know why his heart was warm and soothed. It seemed that Wu Zhu was finally willing to smile for him rather just because of Ye Qingmei. This was something that deserved to be remembered.
Wu Zhu’s smile was immediately withdrawn. He quickly recovered his usual appearance. In a serious voice, he said, “When someone is going to have a child, I need to say congratulations. This is something the young mistress taught me. I haven’t forgotten, so you shouldn’t be shocked.”
Fan Xian forced a smile. “This should be something that comes from the heart and doesn’t need to be remembered.”
Wu Zhu’s face was turned toward the wall painting inside the temple. He said, “For me, this is a very difficult thing. For you, you are happy too early.”
The very thin but absolutely impenetrable piece of black cloth tied around his eyes made the bridge of his nose appear particularly straight. His following words were also very straightforward. “The time isn’t right.”
If it had been anyone else, they would certainly not have understood these words. Fan Xian had lived with Wu Zhu since a young age, so he easily understood the meaning contained in those four words. He laughed bitterly and nodded his head, confirming Uncle Wu Zhu’s judgement.
The Emperor was at Dong Mountain worshipping heaven. If someone rebelled, then Dong Mountain was the most dangerous place on earth. Similarly, Jingdou was the second most dangerous place in the world. Fan Xian was far away by the seashore and completely unable to give much thought to the situation in Jingdou. If the Eldest Princess and Princes truly had the boldness to do such a thing, what kind of actions would they take against Fan Xian, who appeared to be dead loyal to the Emperor?
Wan’er was the Eldest Princess’ trueborn daughter, so Fan Xian was not too worried. However, what about Sisi and the child in her that she was about to give birth to? Even if the Emperor gained a large advantage at Dong Mountain, if Jingdou fell into turmoil, what kind of harm would the people in the Fan manor, the people Fan Xian worried about, have to suffer?
This was the source of Fan Xian’s shock and worry after seeing the Emperor in Danzhou. However, he could not express anything to the Emperor’s face. Only after Wu Zhu had directly spoken of the reason did his expression reveal his true feelings. A wave of heaviness fell.
“The Director and father are in the capital. There shouldn’t be any major problems.” He seemed to be trying to convince Uncle Wu Zhu as well as comforting himself.
“The Emperor has never allowed Chen Pingping and Fan Jian to control troops. That is a problem.” Wu Zhu’s words still did not have any deduction, only results. He lowered his head and said coldly, “If you rush back to Jingdou right now, you might still be in time.”
Even if the people in the capital were going to rebel, they needed a reason. They would need to find a scapegoat for the Emperor’s assassination. Thus, the revolt in Jingdou had to begin 15 days or so after the incident at Dong Mountain.
If Fan Xian rushed back to Jingdou now, he should be in time.
Wu Zhu said, “You are of no use here.”
Fan Xian thought for a while then suddenly opened his mouth and said, “My use seemed to have been completed the moment I saw you.”
The moment he saw Wu Zhu, Fan Xian understood why the Emperor gave an edict for him to follow him to worship heaven—why he had to stop him in Danzhou and bring him to Dong Mountain.
Just as the Emperor had said earlier, since this entire set up was targeted toward Ye Liuyun, he needed Wu Zhu’s participation. Wu Zhu would not leave Dong Mountain because of the Emperor’s plans. Even if he were on Dong Mountain, if he didn’t want to attack Ye Liuyun, he would not do so. The Emperor could command everyone in the world except Wu Zhu. Thus, the Emperor needed Fan Xian’s help to convince Wu Zhu to participate in the matter.
“Presumably you know why the Emperor brought me to see you,” Fan Xian looked at Wu Zhu and said with his head lowered.
“You also know.” Wu Zhu said.
Fan Xian slowly raised his head. There was a complicated expression on his face. A moment later, he said, “It’s been three and a half years since I entered the capital. I have done many things. I know that for these things, someone was using me. Now, those people are using me to use you. It is fine that they used me because I have my own desires, but you have no desires of this world. This is not fair for you.”
“There is no such thing as fair and unfair in this world,” Wu Zhu said calmly. “What is important is whether this matter is beneficial to you.”
Fan Xian noticed a strange thing. In the time he had been separated from Uncle Wu Zhu, he seemed to speak much more and his expressions were much more vivid. He smiled bitterly and shook his head. “The Emperor has thrown himself into this dangerous situation. If we don’t help him, he will be chopped in half by Ye Liuyun. Then, it will be a major problem. He is using his own life and the turmoil of the world to force us to help him.”
“Even if we don’t care about these two things, we have to care about the safety of those people in Jingdou.” Fan Xian paused and then smiled bitterly. “If Ye Liuyun attacks, the Eldest Princess must have made a deal with the Second Prince in Jingdou. We cannot let them succeed.”
Wu Zhu was silent for a moment then said, “Speak straightforwardly.”
Fan Xian sat properly in front of him and said sincerely, “Uncle, please protect the Emperor’s life. As for Ye Liuyun, don’t mind him.”
Wu Zhu nodded his head.
Fan Xian let out a breath in his heart. The Emperor could use him, but he didn’t want to use Uncle Wu Zhu. He only had a few family members in this world. He didn’t want too many other things mixed in. Asking Uncle Wu Zhu to participate did not mean that Fan Xian was not worried about his safety. The actions to be taken before the heaven worship would be the greatest shock to this area in 20 years. Even if Uncle Wu Zhu had the cultivation of a Great Grandmaster, it didn’t mean that he would be fine.
Fan Xian was not too worried because this temple was on a precipice on a tall mountain. Even if Uncle Wu Zhu was defeated in the end, he could jump into the ocean. With this skill, Ye Liuyun and those other masters would not be able to catch up, even if they chased on horseback.
“I should go down the mountain at this time,” Fan Xian lowered his head and said.
In the major event that was about to happen, he didn’t have much authority to speak. Furthermore, speaking from the depths of his heart, he didn’t want to go crazy and take such a risk with the Emperor.
However, he knew the Emperor would probably not allow him to leave the mountain. Only if the kidnapping of hostages was done well would he be able to use Uncle Wu Zhu as he wished. If Ye Liuyun’s sword turned accidentally to the side and pointed to Fan Xian, Wu Zhu would have no choice but to act.
“If the other party is going to do something, it will certainly be before the heaven worship ceremony is completed. In a moment, I will try to convince the Emperor to let me down the mountain.” Fan Xian furrowed his brows. “When this is done, please come and find me quickly.”
He looked at Uncle Wu Zhu’s face and asked in a daze, “I don’t know what rules there are for the heaven worship ceremony or what symbolic meaning there is, but I am very curious, Uncle, have you been recovering on Dong Mountain during the last year?”
Wu Zhu nodded.
“Everyone says that Dong Mountain is magical. Is it true?” Fan Xian looked at the black cloth on his face and furrowed his brows.
Wu Zhu opened his mouth and said, “I don’t know if it’s useful for other people’s illnesses, but it is very good for my injury.”
Fan Xian’s heart jumped slightly. He didn’t quite understand these words and asked, “Why?”
“The essence at Dong Mountain is very thick, more so than any other place in the world,” Wu Zhu said.
Fan Xian’s brows tightened even further. “I can’t feel it.”
“You can only feel the true essence in your body,” Wu Zhu said. “However, the essence between the heaven and earth is not so easily captured.”
He paused for a moment and then said, “Ku He has previously practiced magic from the West. He should be able to feel it.”
Fan Xian was silent. He suddenly remembered that two weak sorcerers had once appeared in his life. He seemed to vaguely guess at something but was unable to connect all the clues together. Magic… What a distant and unfamiliar word. When he was young, he had once considered practicing magic. In this land, no one fully understood it. Even Ku He was more focused on the collecting and research of theory and knowledge in this area.
The night was gradually growing darker. The temperature at the top of the mountain gradually fell. The bugs in the grass stopped their cries due to the cold. A stern atmosphere gradually congealed between the numerous temples. Fan Xian lifted his face in a daze and looked at the paintings on all four walls of the temple. They were almost exactly the same as those in Jingdou’s Qing Temple.
Fan Xian was filled with curiosity about the holy temple and Qing Temple that carried on customs as before. He had originally thought to ask Uncle Wu Zhu, but given the presently urgent situation, he was not able to stay too long.
He rose and bowed to Wu Zhu. In a low voice, he said, “On this summit, it doesn’t matter if someone dies, but you cannot die.”
Wu Zhu didn’t reply. He turned his ear and stretched his right-hand half-way out of his sleeve. He then placed it on the ground and froze in place.
A moment later, Wu Zhu quietly said, “You won’t be able to go down the mountain.”
“You convinced him?” The Emperor had his hands behind his back as he stood at the side of the pitch-black precipice. The moon was hidden behind the thick clouds. An inky darkness floated on the blue sea far away below the precipice. A few weak lights could faintly be seen. They were from the Jiaozhou Navy boats protecting the imperial entourage.
Fan Xian stopped behind the Emperor’s back and furrowed his brows slightly. This afternoon, the Emperor had almost fallen down. How exactly did the Emperor have such daring? The situation had suddenly become urgent. He didn’t reply to the Emperor’s inquiry. Instead, he directly said, “Your Majesty, there are riders coming to attack at the foot of the mountain.”
The Emperor slowly turned around with a slight smile on his face. He didn’t ask how Fan Xian knew about the movements at the foot of the mountain while he was at the top. Warmly, he asked, “Is that so? How many people?”
“I’m not sure,” Fan Xian lowered his head and replied. “I think that since the enemies have come to attack, the Tiger Guards should immediately be sent out to break the siege and ask for help from the surrounding area.”
The Emperor looked at him calmly and didn’t reply to his words. He only slowly said, “I have other things to give to you to do.”
A firecracker suddenly shot up into the sky from the foot of the mountain and illuminated a patch of the sky, reporting the urgent situation at the foot of the mountain. At the bottom of the mountain, the sounds of killing had probably already reached the heavens with flesh and blood flying across the scene. The most daring attack on the monarch in Qing Kingdom history had just begun.
“Report!” The Deputy Commander of the Imperial Army ran out from the camp at the top of the mountain. Kneeling in front of the Emperor, he quickly reported the events happening at the foot of the mountain. However, the distance between the summit and the foot of the mountain was very far. It was impossible to fully understand the situation through a few message arrows.
The Deputy Commander’s face was deathly pale. In the cold night wind, he was sweating profusely. He only knew that enemies had attacked the foot of the mountain. This reality was already enough for him to lose his head. He could not understand how these attacking soldiers could have arrived at the foot of Dong Mountain without alerting the local government and carrying out a ferocious attack under the cover of night against the 2,000Imperial Soldiers at the foot of the mountain.
Fan Xian watched as the Deputy Commander of the Imperial Guard’s mouth moved up and down, but it seemed he couldn’t hear a single word. It was like an absurd and funny soundless picture.
The monarch of a country had been surrounded on Dong Mountain deep in his own territory.
The sound of killing could not reach the distant summit of the mountain. The stench of blood also could not waft up so high. The summit of Dong Mountain remained quiet and calm. The thick layer of clouds in the sky closest to the top of the mountain suddenly dispersed and revealed a bright crescent moon.
The moonlight poured down like silver on the Emperor and Fan Xian standing on the top of the mountain. Fan Xian narrowed his eyes slightly and looked at the Emperor enveloped in the moonlight with a godlike shadow. He began to feel nervous and excited. Through the Emperor’s iron-like shoulders, he saw a small boat floating toward them far away on the ocean.
The little boat rose and fell on the waves and slowly came forward under the moonlight toward Dong Mountain.
The top of the mountain was very far away from the sea, but Fan Xian could still sense that little boat because Ye Liuyun stood on it.