Joy of Life - Chapter 522 - The Heart on the Ship[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:49:38]
Chapter 522: The Heart on the Ship
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
He was surrounded by sea water. It pressed down heavily on him like a giant rock as black as ink. It poured into his mouth, nose, and ears, rendering him unable to breathe. His body swayed back and forth with the unseen currents like a dazed fish. At any moment, he could be smashed against the invisible reefs.
Suddenly, Fan Xian opened his eyes. His eyes were calm. His cheeks gradually swelled up. Using the air pressure inside his body, he managed to create a sort of equilibrium with the seawater outside. Stretching out his right hand, he made a line in the water and grabbed onto the corner of a reef at the bottom of the sea, stabilizing his body on the seafloor. He was a full meter and a half from the surface of the water.
The sword strike from the heavens earlier had not pierced his body, but the wave of sword intention had sunk into his heart meridian and caused him internal damage. This mark of damage was even more terrifying than Yan Xiaoyi’s arrow.
The Tyrannical zhenqi in Fan Xian’s body circulated quickly, resisting the might of nature, while Tianyi Dao’s zhenqi flowed gently through his body. It slowly soothed the injury brought on by Ye Liuyun’s surprising sword strike.
Being at the bottom of the ocean, he was unable to immediately heal himself. He could only suppress the injury for a while.
The rapid circulation of two different qualities of zhenqi in his body put a great deal of pressure on it. One wave of power welled up in his body. Gradually, two streams of blood flowed out of his nostrils. Disturbed by the hidden currents in the water, it immediately dispersed into a fog of blood and enveloped his face. The arrow injury on his shoulder also began to bleed heavily.
He was like a leather satchel filled with red paint that had been pricked with two little holes. It looked terrifying.
Fan Xian’s cheeks were swollen. His eyes were round and bulging. His face had already changed shape. One hand held onto the hidden reefs while he looked up toward the surface of the ocean like a toad. The difference he was bleeding and didn’t know when he would give up. He was unable to smile and didn’t have the state of mind to smile. Thinking of the dangerous scene earlier, he couldn’t help but feel a chill in his heart.
The sea water untied his hair. It floated messily like seagrass. A complicated expression flashed through his eyes on his deathly pale face. Yan Xiaoyi’s arrow was still waiting for him on the surface, so he couldn’t immediately rise out of the water.
As for the Great Grandmaster speeding across the waves on the ship, after his first strike had no effect, presumably he had lost interest in attacking him.
Fan Xian didn’t know how long he stayed in the water. The skin on the hand with which he held onto the reefs felt a bit strange. As he stared up at the flat surface of the ocean, he couldn’t find any way to escape the danger. He felt a glimmer of regret. Yesterday, he should have brought the chest with him. If he had that chest at his side, he wouldn’t be so suppressed right now by Yan Xiaoyi.
This proved that the person Fan Xian was most on guard against after his rebirth was still the Emperor of Qing Kingdom. Perhaps this was a remnant from history or an instinct of his subconscious mind, but he was unwilling to show his trump card to the Emperor.
Even in the current situation, in which he and the Emperor were tied tightly together and were about to welcome the strongest enemies in the world, he still did not want the Emperor to know that the chest was at his side.
He, like Chen Pingping, did not know the Emperor’s trump card. He didn’t know what reaction the Emperor would have after learning that he had such a killing machine.
This kind of thinking influenced Fan Xian’s decision. Thus, he had sunk into his present dangerous situation. Fortunately, he had not died by the arrows or sword. If the story of the dance tonight below the precipice, black arrows, and swing of the sword spread under heaven, everyone’s acknowledgement of Fan Xian would reach another level.
A Great Grandmaster and the most powerful ninth-level ace in the world were unable to kill Fan Xian. This was enough for him to be boastful.
The Tyrannical zhenqi in his body valiantly provided the necessary nutrients his body needed. Being unable to breathe air, he wouldn’t be able to last too long. Fan Xian’s nose was no longer bleeding or was the injury on his shoulder, which had already turned white in the sea water like the belly of a dead fish. A glimmer of unswerving determination flashed across his deathly pale face. His right hand went down again and picked up a large rock from the bottom of the ocean.
For now, he didn’t float up. Instead, he chose a stupid method he had learned from watching Huo Yuanjia in his previous life.
At that time, Huo Yuanjia was walking across the bottom of a lake while, whereas Fan Xian was walking across the bottom of the ocean. Holding onto the large rock, he used the weight of the stone to steady his body so that it did not waver under the attack by the hidden currents at the bottom of the ocean. He walked determinedly forward along the sandy bottom but did not follow the shoreline to try and get onshore and break through the blockade.
There were aces blocking on both sides of Dong Mountain. He could not be sure that the remnants of his zhenqi could support him for very long walking underwater. So, he chose the closest path, which would allow him to rise out of the ocean.
He walked to a position below the ships of the Jiaozhou Navy. Raising his head, he opened his eyes and glanced calmly at the bottom of the boat, which was slightly darker than the color of the sea water. A powerful desire to escape danger heightened all his senses to the point that he could even see the lichen and barnacles on the bottom of the wooden ship clearly.
He let go of the heavy stone. The stone did not make much noise landing on the bottom of the ocean. It only stirred up some mud and sand. Fan Xian slowly drew two half circles and carried out one last adjustment to his breath before relaxing his body and rising up as naturally as possible with the buoyancy of the water. He was terrified of alerting Governor Yan, who had eyes like an eagle, ears like a shark, and a nose like a dog.
Maintaining the rigidity of driftwood and the sensation of deadwood, Fan Xian slowly floated to the bottom of the military boat. He carefully moved toward the outside of the bottom of the ship. He still didn’t poke his head out of the water. He carefully watched for movement on this boat through 10 centimeters of water.
It was a gamble. The reason he had chosen this ship was because Yan Xiaoyi had not fired from this boat. However, if the helper he was looking for was not on this ship, Fan Xian could only dive again to try his luck on another boat. He didn’t know if he would be able to make it to another boat at that time.
Fortunately, his luck was pretty good.
A wicked smile rose to Fan Xian’s deathly pale face as he floated in the sea. He thought to himself that his luck in this lifetime was truly incomparable.
He saw a hand on the ship’s railing. The hand hung very naturally outside of the railing and was lightly tapping without sound, maintaining a steady but strange rhythm.
There were five naval ships moving slowly on the surface of the sea. Under the light of the moon, these ships looked like demons looking for prey. Slicing across the water, they were prepared to pin a prey at the bottom of the ocean to death at any moment.
There were another three boats far away from this group. They maintained a relatively larger distance. They were responsible for taking over as well as keeping an eye on a larger area.
On one of the ships, the light in the middle cabin was very dim. The Jiaozhou Navy captain responsible for this ship was Xu Maocai. He was sitting coldly in a heavy chair. Two of his three trusted soldiers were outside the cabin on guard duty. One of them was responsible for making contact with the navy’s flagship.
He only kept one of his trusted soldiers at his side. The face of this trusted soldier was in the darkness behind the light, so his features couldn’t be seen clearly. One could faintly see that his face was deathly pale, like he had been scared by the largescale battle.
It was silent on the ship when that trusted soldier suddenly opened his mouth and said.
“Why did the Jiaozhou Navy also rebel?”
Xu Maocai was already the third-ranked figure in the Jiaozhou Navy with sufficient power in his hands. For such a major event as tonight, if he did not have inside information, he would not dare follow the navy’s flagship and surrounded the sea around Dong Mountain.
He lowered his head and then slowly opened his mouth and said, “Young master, the situation right now is not that the Jiaozhou Navy has rebelled. Rather, it is you who rebelled.
That trusted soldier was the person with incredible luck who had quietly snuck onto the military ship, Fan Xian. Xu Maocai was originally someone from Quanzhou Navy. The hand that had lain outside of the railing proved that he had secretly anticipated that Fan Xian would be able to escape alive. Thus, Fan Xian had enough trust in him. However, after hearing these words, Fan Xian still furrowed his brows.
Fan Xian and the Emperor had long guessed what the Eldest Princess would do. For such a major action as surrounding Dong Mountain, the news could only be controlled for a few days. In the end, the Emperor would be assassinated and the Crown Prince would inherit. For the matter of the Emperor being assassinated, someone had to shoulder that.
That person must have the power to kill the Emperor and the motivation to take action. Only then would it be enough to convince the empress dowager and officials in court. Even if they couldn’t convince them, they had to give people some kind of emotional explanation.
Among the people who went to Dong Mountain to worship heaven, the only person who had the power to kill the Emperor was the person who held 500 Black Knights in hand and secretly had countless aces under his command, Commissioner Fan Xian of the Overwatch Council.
As for the motivation to kill the Emperor, presumably, given the Eldest Princess’s cleverness, she would tie it to the Ye family whom the empress dowager was cautious against.
“You didn’t make a response. I trust you didn’t send a message to Wu Gei. You also haven’t sent one to Hou Jichang.”
Fan Xian stood behind Xu Maocai and stared coldly at the side of his face. In order to stop someone suddenly coming into the room, he had only roughly bandaged his injury in the back of the boat and disguised himself as Xu Maocai’s trusted soldier, always standing behind him.
“I had you stay with the Jiaozhou Navy for such a day as this.” Fan Xian’s tone was calm, but there was a glimmer of anger contained in it. “In the end, you didn’t do anything. The Overwatch Council wants to assassinate the Emperor. Perhaps this could convince some of the officers in the navy, but how could you believe it? Furthermore, why would Yan Xiaoyi be on the navy’s ship? Do these navy officers not have questions in their mind? Why would they believe in your loyalty and have you come to Dong Mountain?”
Xu Maocai lowered his head and thought for a while. “Concerning the assassination matter, some people should believe it. After all, the Overwatch Council’s reputation is not very good. Furthermore, we received message yesterday that 500 Black Knights had traveled through the night from the campsite in Jiangbei toward Xiao Mountain. In the Shangdong Road region, there was suddenly no more news. Thus, if someone said that the Black Knights were rushing here to assassinate the Emperor, it was believable.”
Fan Xian’s heart trembled slightly. He had moved the Black Knights, but they had not gotten close to Dong Mountain’s area. If he was tricked again by the Jingdou people, if the Emperor really didn’t escape this time, then it would really be quite difficult to explain. Fortunately, he still had a few trump cards.
Xu Maocai once again described the military situation in detail. The more Fan Xian listened, the more helpless he felt. He had only been on the summit for a day and half a night, yet the story being spread was very different to what he knew. Apparently, he had colluded with Dongyi’s Sigu Jian to assassinate the Emperor? Sh*t…was this kind of framing not too childish?
Fan Xian knew that it was not important what tricks were used. As long as victory was decided through ability, no matter how childish the framing was from the Eldest Princess’s side, it would all become firm truths in history books.
“Of course, most of the navy has doubts. I even think that some people actually know the truth about the incident this time at Dong Mountain,” Xu Maocai said coldly. “Even if they know the truth, so what? If it was still Admiral Chang Kun, given he and those old generals’ fear toward the Emperor, they would never have dared to participate in this matter. However, last year, you went on a killing spree in Jiaozhou. Many of the old generals have already been killed. Countless younger generals have begun to feel a chill in their hearts toward the court. Presently, the Jiaozhou Navy belongs to the Qin family. Even if they actually wanted to rebel, I believe the officers on these naval ships below Dong Mountain would be happy to do so.”
Calmly, Fan Xian said, “You should know the truth. I had never doubted the change in the navy. The Emperor also understands the Qin family well. I trust that he has follow-up plans. That is why I find it strange that you have won the trust of the Eldest Princess’s faction.”
He suddenly furrowed his brows and said, “Feeling chilled toward the court, presumably there is your hard work in this matter. Maocai, I wanted you to remain in the Jiaozhou Navy, not to have you create a rebel army.”
Xu Maocai was silent for a moment. He suddenly rose and bowed deeply toward Fan Xian. Sincerely, he said, “Young master, I am not talented. I have never been able to have complete control of the Jiaozhou Navy in my hand. Since the Eldest Princess is going to rebel, and the Qin family has also joined in, you should be able to see… There is also the Great Grandmaster on the sea. This opportunity is very rare.”
He stared at Fan Xian’s deathly pale face. A glimmer of staunch loyalty and heat flashed across his eyes. He gritted his teeth. “Young master, take the opportunity and rebel!”
Fan Xian stared into Xu Maocai’s eyes and didn’t speak for a long time. He knew of the loyalty this Captain had for him, or rather, for his mother. As for the treasonous suggestion he had just made, it was not that he had not guessed at it. He only shook his head gently.
“Why?” Xu Maocai lowered his voice. “Presently, all the truly powerful people in the world have been drawn to the great Dong Mountain. Jingdou is only an empty husk. Young master, you could go ashore and contact the Black Knights around the Xiao Mountain area, then bound across the thousand li to Jingdou and collaborate with Director Chen from the outside. With one move, you could control the Royal Palace. After both sides here have suffered heavy losses, you could, with your identity as a prince, raise your arm and call for action from up high in Jingdou. The great matter would be done!”
“Completely impossible.” Fan Xian did his best to moderate his tone to prevent hurting the person in front of him. Gently, he said, “The Emperor has always been on guard against me and has never let me control the army. How could a mere 500 Black Knights enter Jingdou? There are 10,000 in the garrison outside Jingdou. There are the guards of the 13 gates inside Jingdou. Plus, the Imperial Army as 3,000. How could I defeat them?”
“The commander of the Jingdou Garrison is the Great Prince’s trusted aide, while the Imperial Army is controlled by the Great Prince. The guards of the 13 city gates answer only to the Emperor. Once the Emperor is no longer here, they are like headless people.” It was clear that Xu Maocai was well-prepared and reeled off each reason methodically. “Young master, since you dare to brave the risk of breaking through the blockade, you must be carrying items from the Emperor. It should be a personally written letter, the royal seal, or something like it. You can enter the Palace alone and win Yi Guipin’s support. Outside the Palace, you can ask Director Chen to act. In one move, you could sweep away the Crown Prince and Second Prince’s power…”
Fan Xian waved his hand to stop his words and said, “All of this is built on the condition that the Great Prince supports me.”
Xu Maocai didn’t wait for him to finish and admonished, “If the Emperor is dead, you hold the royal seals in your hand. You are good friends with the Great Prince. Who is he going to support other than you?”
“What about the Qin family?” Fan Xian stared into his eyes. “And the Ye family in Dingzhou? How many soldiers do they have together? The Ye family has already run the Jingdou garrison for 20 years. It is impossible for the Great Prince to control it completely.”
“What about it?” Xu Maocai lowered his voice. “The Qing court has seven Roads of elite soldiers. Yan Xiaoyi is in Dong Mountain, so the Northern camp cannot be moved. The Ye family only controls two branches. And, there are still four roads of elite soldiers. As long as you can control the Palace, these four roads of elite soldiers belong to you. Even if it will be dangerous in Jingdou at first, in less than half a month, everything will turn around!”
“The reason you are hesitant is that you’ve never closely analyzed just how much power you can command.” Xu Maocai stared into Fan Xian’s eyes. “The Emperor is assassinated in Dong Mountain. You have the royal seal and Emperor’s handwritten letter as evidence. The crime of assassination could easily be placed on the Eldest Princess, Crown Prince, and Second Prince. This gives you a nominal reason. In less than half a month, this would have been acknowledged by the four roads of elite troops. Although you have no one in court, Prime Minister Lin has probably left a number of people to you. As for the initial shock and instability of the situation in Jingdou, Director Chen is the best at dealing with these matters. Furthermore, don’t forget Minister Fan, he is certain to support you.”
Fan Xian was silent for a long time. He admitted that Xu Maocai had secretly put in a lot of effort and time for him into the matter of rebellion. If he could get away from the ocean, shake off Yan Xiaoyi’s attack, and return to Jingdou, perhaps the power of Qing Kingdom might truly not be far from his hands.
Was this alluring? Fan Xian didn’t know. His state of mind was clear, but he had not thought in that direction at all.
“First, I have to ensure that I can reach Jingdou alive,” Fan Xian looked at Xu Maocai and said calmly. “The biggest problem is that your entire deduction is built on the foundation that the Emperor will be assassinated on Dong Mountain. But, who told you that the Emperor would certainly die this time?”