Joy of Life - Chapter 523 - Chase (1)[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:49:38]
Chapter 523: Chase (1)
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The sea wind swept through the boat. The waves moved the boat up and down. Although the lamp chained to the wall of the boat would not fall to the ground, the flame in the lantern was at times larger and other times smaller. The illumination left the two people’s faces shadowed and unclear.
From outside, faint sounds of messages being delivered could be heard. A trusted soldier knocked and entered. He reported something to Xu Maocai and then hurried out of the cabin. Everyone within a 20 li radius of Dong Mountain had sunk into a tense and terrified atmosphere. Regardless of whether they knew the truth of the matter or not, they all felt fearful and uneasy.
“Expand the search area,” Xu Maocai lowered his voice and said. His expression was complicated. Fan Xian’s words earlier had directly upturned all his thoughts. If the Emperor didn’t die… But, Xu Maocai did not believe Fan Xian’s deduction. Although he didn’t know everything about the Eldest Princess’ plan, looking at the situation at hand, how could the Emperor come down alive from Dong Mountain?
While he was thinking, Fan Xian quietly watched from the side. It was clear that Xu Maocai had played a fairly important role in the rebellion of the Jiaozhou Navy. Otherwise, the Eldest Princess’ faction would not have allowed him to come and carry out tasks. Fan Xian knew that Xu Maocai had never had any feelings of loyalty toward the Qing court. He only had were feelings of hate and a desire for revenge. The so-called rebellion was simply going with the flow. The person he was helping with the rebellion was himself.
That was why Xu Maocai had not followed Fan Xian’s previous orders and contacted the Jiaozhou Zhizhou, Wu Gefei, or Hou Jichang at the first opportunity. Why he had not told the Overwatch Council about the Jiaozhou Navy’s strange movements, creating the difficult situation of Dong Mountain being surrounded?
He was the deepest piece Fan Xian had buried in the Jiaozhou Navy. Because he now had his own thoughts, he completely lost his original use.
Fan Xian could not fly into a rage. His anger was light because he understood the man’s heart.
Xu Maocai saw that there was no way to convince Fan Xian. His expression became a bit dim. A moment later, he said, “I had originally planned to order my men to carry out a counterattack on the sea at the last moment to destroy the navy’s blockade, forcefully land ashore to get you down the mountain, and then head for Jingdou.”
Fan Xian’s heart leapt. Given the boats in Xu Maocai’s hands and strength of about a thousand soldiers, if he wanted to land and get Fan Xian down the mountain, he presumably had the determination and courage to do so in the face of certain death.
“I didn’t think that you would…” Xu Maocai shook his head and sighed. He couldn’t stop a glimmer of respect and fear rising into his eyes. In the eyes of these people, someone who was able to escape down the sheer and jade-smooth precipice of Dong Mountain seemed to have already left the realm of mortals.
Xu Maocai continued speaking, “Your guess was right. The Qing family was one reason that the Jiaozhou Navy joined in on the Eldest Princess’ plan. My participation was more important. if I had let you run into danger on the mountain, I would not be able to atone for it even with ten thousand deaths. However, it was fortunate that because of this reason, Governor Yan trusts me a great deal. I don’t think he will think to search this boat. You can relax and stay here.”
Fan Xian coughed and shook his head. “I have to get back to Jingdou.” After he got on the boat, he had asked Xu Maocai, at the first moment, about the situation of the blockade on the ocean and on land. He learned that the blockade involved countless powerful people in addition to the terrifying ninth-level assassins from Dongyi. If he wanted to break the blockade on land, it would be difficult.
“Can you have the boat go north for 3 li?” He furrowed his brows. “Three li away, those people will be unable to control a wider area. I should be able to find an opportunity.”
“Too many eyes watching. We’ll have to wait.” Xu Maocai glanced at him worriedly and sighed. In his opinion, returning to Jingdou right now was not the most urgent matter. The wisest decision would be first to think of some way to make contact with the Black Knights and the people in Jingdou, and then watch the tigers do battle.
If Fan Xian could get back to Jiangnan, inform Xue Qing, and then head back to Jingdou though Wu Zhou, he would have a follow-up ready. This was the cleverest action. However, such a decision was, without question, was not one that normal people could make. There were too many people that needed his care in Jingdou. In Fan Xian’s position, he had to think deeply about the existence of the Qing Kingdom and whether or not a war would arise.
“I can’t wait too long,” Fan Xian lowered his voice and said straightforwardly. The flame in the lamp brightened and dimmed with the waves outside the cabin. It gave his face a rarely seen expression of worry.
He could throw aside Dong Mountain because Uncle Wu Zhu, whom he was most worried about, had a definite advantage in the environment of Dong Mountain compared to Ye Liuyun, Sigu Jian, and even old Eunuch Hong. No one would be able to keep him. While Jingdou needed him to return urgently, they needed the royal seal hidden in his clothes and the Emperor’s personal letter to the empress dowager.
“Outside the Danzhou port, you’re on the boat?” Fan Xian asked in a low voice as he continued to stand behind Xu Maocai in the outfit of a trusted soldier.
Having received a definitive response, Fan Xian immediately asked, “When did Yan Xiaoyi board the ship?”
“Not sure,” Xu Maocai answered. “It should be on the way from Danzhou to Dong Mountain.”
Fan Xian’s brows furrowed. It seemed the alliance with the Eldest Princess’ faction had received each other’s acknowledgment. There were not many internal clues that could be used. “While in Danzhou, you should have seen a white-sailed ship.”
Xu Maocai tilted his head in confusion and said, “That was the boat you were on. Of course, I noticed.”
“I want to get onto the boat.” Fan Xian’s eyes narrowed slightly. His tone gave a sense of certainty and that he would brook no disobedience. “At this time, Yan Xiaoyi’s eyes had probably already risen from the bottom of the ocean. I want to go ashore, but it is too difficult. Is there any way to move slightly north on the ocean?”
Xu Maocai furrowed his brows and said, “We might as well take the boat directly to Danzhou. However, that will depend on luck.”
Fan Xian thought for a while and then nodded. “My luck has always been extraordinarily good.”
On the dark ocean, the boat closest to Dong Mountain had its lanterns lit. It was doing its best to maintain contact with the other ships nearby. The ship was massive. Compared to Dong Mountain, which stretched between the heaven and earth, it was pathetically small. It was like a green pea in front of a piece of white paper.
The soldiers on the ships watched the surface of the ocean anxiously, as if they could find some clue from among the sea water. Occasionally, someone would call something out. Many of the soldiers had bows in their hands ready to fire into the ocean at any moment.
A long time had passed since the shadowy figure on the precipice had disappeared into the ocean waves. Countless people were looking for a trace of Fan Xian between the sea to the land on either side of the great Dong Mountain. No one thought Fan Xian would be hiding on their own boat.
Yan Xiaoyi stood at the head of the boat in light archery armor. The trusted soldier beside him helped him carry the heavy gold bow. He picked up a cup of strong liquor from the wooden table next to him and swallowed all of it in one gulp. He continued to look coldly at the waves below the precipice. Although a lot of time had passed, he still believed that Fan Xian had not died.
Although Fan Xian had been hit by one of his arrows and intimidated by a wave-breaking sword strike, Yan Xiaoyi still did not think Fan Xian was dead. He gave out the order for officers and soldiers on the sea to increase efforts to track him down.
Yan Xiaoyi knew that Fan Xian was injured, but he unconsciously hoped he was still alive. It would be best if he could come before him still alive so he could viciously fire an arrow straight into his throat. He hated Fan Xian. He loathed that pretty boy. He knew the death of his only son had to be related to Fan Xian. Additionally, that night in the Jingdou alley he had held a hard bow in his hand but had completely lost in the confrontation with Fan Xian through the fog. This was a humiliation he couldn’t endure.
Fan Xian had to die by his hands to wash clean this humiliation.
“You won’t have such good luck this time.” A vicious light flashed through his eyes. He stared without moving at Dong Mountain’s precipice but began to the think of the scene he saw earlier, which had shocked him.
Unbelievably, that pretty boy was able to slide down from such a tall, steep, and slippery slope.
If Yan Xiaoyi’s realm had not been so extraordinary with such astonishing eyesight, the naval officers on the sea would not have discovered any trace of Fan Xian. He could probably have escaped a thousand li away through the water and all the rebel soldiers would still have thought that the young Commissioner was trapped on the mountain.
This was not an issue of luck. This was an issue of strength. Yan Xiaoyi’s heart felt slightly chilled. He was shocked by the power Fan Xian had demonstrated. Because this ship was too far from the precipice, his 13 arrows had not been able to pin Fan Xian to the precipice. He only managed to injure him. This reality made it difficult for Yan Xiaoyi to suppress the emotion on his face.
How could he allow such a powerful enemy to escape tonight’s deadly setup?
“How is the search going on each ship?” Yan Xiaoyi asked with a cold expression. When no trace of Fan Xian was found in the water, the first thing he thought of was that the kid must have climbed up one of his boats from the water. The Jiaozhou Navy people that come this time were all deeply aware of the true situation, so Yan Xiaoyi did not suspect them.
Admiral Qin Yi of the Jiaozhou Navy glanced at him and said in a low voice, “He’s not on the boat.”
He was a second generation figure of the Qin family, a cousin of Qin Heng, and Deputy in the Bureau of Military Affairs. Because of Fan Xian’s investigation of Jiaozhou, it gave him the opportunity to take over the position of Jiaozhou Navy Admiral. Since he was standing shoulder to shoulder with Yan Xiaoyi at the head of the boat, the Qin family’s stance was clear.
“Be careful. He is very cunning. Since he has come down from the mountain, he must have very important things with him. If he is allowed to return to Jingdou, it will probably greatly affect the Eldest Princess’s and old Qin master’s plan,” Yan Xiaoyi said heavily.
Qin Yi agreed. Although he was a first-rank naval admiral, in front of Yan Xiaoyi, this super-Governor, he didn’t have any right to be strong-willed. Each side looked after the other, but the person with true speaking power was Yan Xiaoyi.
Yan Xiaoyi looked at the ocean in front of him and suddenly furrowed his brows. “I’m worried that Fan Xian has already gone ashore from the bottom of the ocean.”
“No one can hold their breath at the bottom of the ocean for so long.” Qin Yi shook his head. “There are your trusted soldiers camped on the shore and those aces from Dongyi. They shouldn’t give him any opportunities.”
A strange smile rose on the corners of Yan Xiaoyi’s lips. He thought to himself that the pretty boy was able to slide down a sheer precipice of hundreds of meters tall, how could he be judged by common logic?
Seeing Yan Xiaoyi’s worry, Qin Yi calmly said, “Tomorrow or, at the latest, the day after tomorrow, the plan will begin to roll into action in each of the provinces bordering the road. Although we are unable to use the name of the Overwatch Council, once we send out a message out that Fan Xian has assassinated the Emperor and is the most wanted criminal in the world, how can he run?”
Yan Xiaoyi glanced at him mockingly and didn’t say anything. He thought to himself that a normal martial artist could not understand the power of a ninth-level ace. If Fan Xian was allowed to go ashore and dive into the sea of people, even if the court was swayed by the Eldest Princess and pinned the crime of rebellion on him, no one could promise that Fan Xian would not be able to enter the capital.
“If Fan Xian managed to escape and got ashore, he will certainly find the closest branch of the Overwatch Council and send a message to Jingdou,” Yan Xiaoyi said coldly. “Although there are Overwatch Council secret agents in every province and place, the ones he trusts the most and are the closest to him are, without question, are the people he left in Danzhou.”
Qin Yi replied, “I’ll immediately have someone go to Danzhou.”
If Fan Xian was on the boat at this moment and heard these words, he would surely have loved to hold and kiss Yan Xiaoyi. On Xu Maocai’s ship, he had been thinking hard about how he could return to his boat in Danzhou. Unexpectedly, Governor Yan had given him an opportunity.
However, why did he want to go to Danzhou?
Yan Xiaoyi arranged everything and then slowly raised is head. His right index finger and middle finger unconsciously bent together. This was a habitual motion from many years of living with a bow. With the bending of his fingers, his gaze had already landed on the distant and dark summit of Dong Mountain.
He knew the Emperor was there and what the Emperor would face. Even though the rebellion had progressed to such a stage, as a military man, he still felt one part admiration, three parts fear and respect, and five parts unease toward him.
If his only son had not died and made him clearly understand that his son would never be as precious as the Emperor’s son, perhaps Yan Xiaoyi would have chosen another method and not be where he was tonight.
Fortunately, he didn’t need to personally interfere in the events on the summit of the mountain. Yan Xiaoyi thought to himself, The soldiers from in front of the mountain gate had been handed to that person. It was part of the deal. It also smoothed his emotions.
He bowed respectfully toward the sea, hoping that the elder on the boat about to ascend Dong Mountain would take his greetings to the Emperor.