Joy of Life - Chapter 541 - Whose Manor Is It?[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:49:45]
Chapter 541: Whose Manor Is It?
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The young lady was shaking under the black lightly blood-scented dagger, pitifully lovely. Her two crescent brows were slightly furrowed as she breathed heavily.
She appeared unfamiliar and delicate. Fan Xian did not know her or feel any appreciation for her beauty. Seeing the pale-faced girl starting to cry out for help, his left hand quickly covered her mouth. Immediately after, he flicked his finger in preparation of sealing her meridian to render her temporarily frozen.
Before his finger made contact, Fan Xian suddenly found that the unfamiliar young lady he had under his control had suddenly fainted with a cry into his palm.
Fan Xian pressed gently with his finger on the young lady’s neck, confirming that she had truly fainted and was not faking it. Hesitantly, he withdrew his hand and placed her on the chair. He looked at his finger and furrowed his brows. He thought to himself, He hadn’t even had time to put on the sleeping drug, why did she already faint?
The frown between his brows did not disappear. Fan Xian had been listening with his heart to the cries outside the manor. He listened quietly, preparing to carry out the next step whenever the people chasing him entered the manor.
Unexpectedly, the noise outside the manor did not continue for long. The soldiers chasing him only exchanged a few words and then left.
Fan Xian was slightly surprised. Walking to the window, he gazed toward the front door of the manor and furrowed his brows. He wondered who this manor belonged to for the Eldest Princess’ faction to trust them so much. In the present extraordinary times, who was able to avoid a search by the Jingdou government?
Although this manor took up a large plot of land, the standard of its construction did not seem to be that of a King or member of the royal family. It was probably the home of some major court official. He furrowed his brows and thought for a long time. He could not remember which official in the Eldest Princess’s faction lived on this street.
Although he did not guess who the master of this manor was, since the soldiers chasing him had left, Fan Xian relaxed a little. Only now did he have the time and attention to observe the room he was in.
Everything was fine at a glance. Looking closely, Fan Xian couldn’t help but be surprised, just like how he had mistaken the boudoir for a study and abruptly met the unfamiliar young lady.
Not only was did this boudoir have a number of bookshelves stuffed full with scrolls and looked nothing like the boudoir of an adolescent girl, not an item relating to women’s work could be seen. Furthermore, a strangely familiar couplet was impressively stuck to the columns on either side of the desk.
A tender coldness surrounds her dreams for spring is cold. The enveloping fragrance is the aroma of wine.
Fan Xian narrowed his eyes and couldn’t resist glancing at the girl lying in a faint in the chair. His heart felt quietly uneasy. This couplet was the work of the great Song scholar, Qing Guan, from the other world. The reason it would appear in this world and in this young woman’s boudoir was because of Fan Xian copying “A Dream of Red Mansions.”
This couplet had once appeared in Qin Keqing’s room in a book. Fan Xian felt secretly uneasy because Qin Keqing was a charming, stylish, and short-lived illusionary figure. Hanging this couplet in one’s home was an agreement with this figure. This couplet, the inexperienced appearance of the young lady on the chair, and the fragrant scent of books in this boudoir were too at odds.
The densely packed books on the shelves also shocked Fan Xian. There were no female biographies or work relating to women’s education. There were no anthologies of the most popular lyrics and poems. Rather, there were collections of Banxianzhai poetry of various editions, particularly the edition that Master Zhuan Mohan had personally annotated. There were three copies of it.
There were three entire roles of the Zhuan edition classics that Fan Xian had personally revised a year ago that the Imperial Academy had published. These were the results after the books in the carriages were organized.
The most populous ones on the bookshelves were “A Dream of Red Mansions” and “Story of the Stone.” There were various editions of them. Some were long, some were short. Some had exquisite covers, while other had rough bindings. Most of them were from the various printings the Danbo Bookstore published, but there were also some copies from some small and unknown publishers.
Fan Xian stood in a daze in front of the bookshelves looking at the scrolls. They gave off a faint scent of ink and sank into a silence for some unknown reason. He didn’t know which family this young lady belonged to or why this young lady valued so highly the writing he had left in this world.
Faintly, Fan Xian sniffed. He seemed to have completely forgotten his dangerous situation in Jingdou and the bloody conspiracy he was planning. He only looked calmly at the books. For this instant, he suddenly felt satisfied with himself.
People eventually die. He had lived twice and had two very different lives. It was already far more exciting than the creator had intended. In this world, he had already left behind these words, these intellectual things. Even if he died today, how many regrets did he have?
The words were not his, nor was the intellectual wealth. He had brought all of this from that world and gifted it to this one.
Fan Xian suddenly felt somewhat proud of being a bridge between two worlds and leaving behind a mark. Perhaps this was similar to the feeling Ye Qingmei initially had in changing this world.
Outside the window, night had fallen long ago. Only the silver moon shone into the room. In this age, people had dinner early. However, this young lady was probably used to living alone. During this time, not a single serving girl or servant came to the room to check on her. Unexpectedly, this gave Fan Xian a rare chance to think alone for a time.
He had already shaken off the sudden emotions from earlier. Walking to the desk, he looked at the ink marks on the new, snow-white writing paper. Looking at the random array of copied words and phrases, he couldn’t stop a thoughtful smile from rising to the corners of his lips.
His body was full of zhenqi. His six senses were superb, so he did not need to light a candle or worry about being discovered.
“All call the author a fool, who could understand his secret message within?” Fan Xian looked at the words on the paper and muttered to himself. He thought this young lady was indeed infatuated. As the words on the paper were so elegant and spirited, perhaps she had some inner intelligence.
He suddenly caught sight of a flash of red at the bottom of the desk from the corner of his eye. He stretched out his hand to retrieve it. It was a not a very thick book. The cover was red with no words. It was about eight inches square. Fan Xian gently lifted the cover of it with his finger to see the words “Romantic Reflections” written on the title page. Involuntarily, he felt a great deal of emotion.
It was his book.
When he first came to Jingdou, he had once bought this copy of “A Dream of Red Mansions” from the hands of a child seller in front of Yishi Tavern. That was the first batch of pirated goods in this world.
Fan Xian looked at the book in his hands in a daze. Je had not thought he would meet an old friend here. In an instant, his life these years in Jingdou and Jiangnan flashed through his mind, rendering him speechless. Gradually, he understood that even if he lived again, he still wasn’t a match for the battlefield fame of profit in Jingdou. He had long forgotten his initial clear state of mind. He had long lost the frivolous, relaxed, and harmonious life.
I wonder just which family this young lady belongs to. He savored this thought in his mind. Holding the book in his hand, he unconsciously glanced at the face of the girl on the chair.
It was only at this moment that he realized the girl was very pretty. The skin on her face was particularly clean, although there was a coldness of unknown origin between her brows. It looked like the snow on a desolate mountain. It was very reflective. Fan Xian narrowed his eyes slightly and couldn’t help but think of his sister Ruoruo, who always appeared as cold as ice in front of strangers, and his wife Wan’er, who was trapped in the Palace.
In this girl’s continued faint, she seemed to have some of Ruoruo and Wan’er’s essence.
Fan Xian looked at the girl’s face with a smile. He suddenly realized there was movement below the girl’s eyelid. He knew she was finally going to wake up.
Sun Pin’er slowly woke up but found that her eyelids were as heavy as lead. She only remembered that she had returned to her study to rest a little after eating and was going to carefully copy out another poem to burn in the garden tomorrow to venerate the Emperor. Loud noises had rung out from outside the manor. It was as if the Jingdou government was chasing criminals. Then, that man charged in.
The black dagger was icy cold. The pair of hands carried a strong stench of blood as well as the thick scent of a male’s body.
Sun Pin’er had never experienced such disrespectful treatment. Assaulted by the smell of sweat on the hand that covered her mouth and nose, shame and anger overwhelmed her. She couldn’t catch her breath and fainted away.
After an indeterminable amount of time, she finally woke up and slowly opened her eyes. Somewhat hazily she saw a face, a handsome, young, and kindly male face that wore a wicked smile as it looked at her. There were no lights in the room, only faint moonlight from outside the window. It made his face look extra pure and gentle.
Sun Pin’er’s heart tightened. Her eyes were filled with a shocked expression. Unconsciously, she shrunk into the back of the chair and was preparing to open her mouth to yell out when the shock in her eyes became confusion and helplessness.
Her heart thudded. She wondered to herself, Who is this young man? He didn’t look like someone she knew, yet why did he look so familiar? It was like she had met him somewhere a long time ago.
Fan Xian watched as the girl slowly opened her eyes and a complicated emotion flashed through them. She didn’t cry out, which surprised Fan Xian. Looking at her with a slight smile, he withdrew the finger that had been ready to flick out. He hadn’t prepared any sleeping medicine because he needed an awake hostage.
“Who are you?”
“Who are you?”
The two spoke at the same time. Fan Xian turned his head slightly and raised his brow before saying, “Should I not be a hoodlum?”
Sun Pin’er looked at the handsome young man and was slightly dazed. She felt that there was warmth between his brows. He didn’t look like a hoodlum, but she also knew that her reaction was strange. Involuntarily, feelings of shame and panic welled inside her. Her hands covered the front of her body. She replied in a trembling voice, “I don’t care who you are, but please don’t do anything stupid. It won’t be good for you.”
“Young lady, you are very calm. I appreciate that very much,” Fan Xian looked at her with a very gentle gaze and warmly said. “The young lady of a normal household would probably scream upon waking up. That would bring tragic results that neither of us wants to see. Your self-control is very strong. I admire it greatly.”
Sun Pin’er’s face was slightly hot. She thought about how she was preparing to cry out earlier but upon seeing this face, which she seemed to have vaguely seen in a previous life, she did not do so.
“There is no need to panic. I only need a place to hide temporarily. I promise I will not harm you.”
Fan Xian spoke in a quiet voice and gently placed the red covered book of the “Story of the Stone” on the desk. Originally, he could have put the young lady into a sleeping state. He had a feeling deep in his heart that talking more with this young lady may bring him great benefits.
“Hide?” Sun Pin’er dropped her head in fear and glanced at the intruder’s clothing out of the corner of her eyes, thinking, Who exactly is he? Who was he hiding from? Suddenly, she thought of the incident that had happened in Jingdou these two days. She remembered the appearance of the person in the rumors and glanced at the “Story of the Stone” that he had gently placed on the desk.
Sun Pin’er’s face immediately went white. It was not because she was smart or lucky. During these few years, her heart had been occupied by that name. At no time was she not concerned with his every action, particularly recently as he had been struck into an endless abyss and become a traitor that everyone persecuted. This gave her great pain and was why she was able to think of him in the first instance and made a guess that was closest to the truth.
Is it him?
Sun Pin’er’s mouth trembled slightly. She bravely raised her head to look intently into Fan Xian’s face, but she still couldn’t say anything.
Fan Xian glanced at her curiously and gently asked, “Young lady, may I ask whose family manor this is?”
Sun Pin’er had already confirmed who he was in her heart. With the swaying in her heart, how could she speak? She could only gaze in a daze at Fan Xian. In a trembling voice she asked, “Are you Sir Fan junior?”
It was Fan Xian’s turn to be dumbstruck. Although his disguise was not overly exaggerated, he was certain that no one could be able to recognize him if they weren’t very familiar with him. Why could this girl recognize him at a glance and call out his name? Fan Xian’s heart tightened. His eyes immediately became cold.
Seeing that he didn’t deny it, Sun Pin’er’s state of mind became even more panicked. Only now did she remember his question from earlier. Biting her bottom lip, she timidly said, “My father is Sun Jingxiu.”
Fan Xian sucked in a cold breath and couldn’t help but rub his nose and open his mouth wide. He was unable to speak for a while. In his heart, he sighed. He didn’t know if his luck was good to the extreme or bad to the extreme.
Sun Jingxiu was the present Jingdou magistrate. He controlled the Jingdou bailiffs and the daily peace. He was the main official in charge of capturing him by the empress dowager’s edict. Who would have thought that he was hiding inside the Sun manor and had captured Sun Jingxiu’s daughter.
Fan Xian sighed and gazed at the young lady of the Sun family. “Ah, so it is young lady Sun. I hope I didn’t startle you.”
His brows began to furrow. Sun Jingxiu was a second rank Jingdou magistrate. Although he had never joined a faction, he had no connection to him. Since he was so trusted by the empress dowager, if Fan Xian stayed in this manor, it would be little different to staying in a tiger’s den. For the sake of his safety, he needed to leave as soon as possible.
Glancing at the young lady of the Sun family, Fan Xian secretly extended his finger and chose a sleeping medicine that had previously knocked out Si Lili, Xiao En, and Yan Bingyun’s brother Luo Fang. He was going to drug the young lady of the Sun family and then quietly leave.
“You are Sir Fan junior?” Sun Pin’er bit her bottom lip and asked to the ground.
Fan Xian stood in front of him with a confused smile on his face. Curiously, he asked, “How could you recognize me at a glance?”
Sun Pin’er heard his implicit admission and covered her mouth with her hands, not speaking directly to him. For some reason, two teardrops rolled out from her eyes and slid down.
Fan Xian shook his head in confusion.
Sun Pin’er saw that he was getting ready to leave and suddenly rose from the chair. Leaping forward, she held him tightly in her arms.
Feeling the soft, fragrant, and full embrace, Fan Xian was truly dumbstruck. Was this young lady of the Sun family a patriotic young woman who was prepared to use her own life to capture him, the criminal who assassinated the Emperor?
The girl in his arms was crying, it didn’t look like she wanted to capture him. What exactly did she want to do?
Fan Xian’s zhenqi circulated through his hands, but he didn’t pry at her shoulder. He only felt the her shoulder shaking and couldn’t help but be confused. This seemed to have sunk into some problem between men and women. However, Fan Xian’s memory was startling. He had never in his life owed something to a woman surnamed Sun. In reality, he had never met this person before.
“Baoyue…” Sun Pin’er sobbed in Fan Xian’s arms and suddenly said this like she was in a dream.
Fan Xian’s heart jumped and pushed her from his arms. In a gentle voice, he said, “Young lady, wake up.”
Sun Pin’er suddenly woke and, with a cry, pulled back at once. Thinking of how she shamelessly leapt into the arms of the strange man, she felt happy, shocked, embarrassed, and angry. Sitting on the chair, she began to cry.
Fan Xian looked at this scene and couldn’t help but furrow his brows. He seemed to have vaguely caught onto something in his heart. Jingdou magistrate? The young lady of the Sun family? This room filled with “A Dream of Red Mansions” and Banxianzhai poetry collections. Just then, the young lady had unconsciously cried out Baoyue…
In a flash, Fan Xian finally remembered a matter from a long time ago, a story that had traveled hotly through Jingdou.
“You are that… Why did you burn my Baoyue?” Fan Xian gazed at the young lady of the Sun family and asked with shock.
Sun Pin’er was recognized by Fan Xian and couldn’t help being surprised. Lowering her head, she glanced bashfully at him.
This was a story that Fan Sizhe had told Fan Xian three and a half years ago. At that time, the brothers were just starting to organize the Danbo Bookstore to sell “A Dream of Red Mansions” that Fan Xian had copied. Fan Xian was worried about the number of sales of the “Story of the Stone,” but Fan Sizhe reassured him. The “Story of the Stone” had already swept through Jingdou and been a particular scourge on a number of young ladies from large families.
Among these young ladies, the most famous was the young lady from the family of the Jingdou Government’s Fucheng. Because she had read “A Dream of Red Mansions,” she gave no thought to food and drink and became dazed. In the end, the wife of the Cheng family burned the book. The young lady gave a pained cry of “Why did you burn my Baoyue?” and then she became heavily ill. She was bedridden for a long time.
The matter circulated in Jingdou for a long time. At that time, this was a bright spot on Fan Xian’s brilliant reputation.
Fan Xian looked at the young lady of the Sun family sitting with her head down in shame in the chair and couldn’t help sighing as he shook his head. He thought to himself, It was no wonder she became so excited after learning his identity. The boudoir was adorned in this way because she was his number one fan… No, it should be said that she was a girl who had caught the “Red Mansion syndrome,” a pitiful person that had been seduced by brother Baoyue.
He gazed at the young lady of the Sun family and gently said, “Weren’t the books burned?”
Sun Pin’er raised her head shamefully and glanced at the red-covered “Story of the Stone” on the table. Using a mosquito-like voice, she said, “I bought a copy later and got better.”
“Jingdou government’s Fucheng… Now, Master Sun is the Jingdou magistrate. It is difficult for me to make the connection.”
Fan Xian spoke with a slight smile. In his heart, he thought that although there was only a difference of two ranks between the Fucheng and the magistrate, the difference in power was immense, particularly in such a place as the Jingdou government. Usually, it was difficult for a Fucheng to climb to the position of magistrate, much less do so in only three years.
Sun Pin’er glanced at him and quietly said, “I have to thank you, Sir Fan junior.”
After a series of conversations, only then did Fan Xian understand that he had caused countless issues ever since he entered the capital. At that time, the Jingdou magistrate, Mei Zhili, had been forced to leave the capital because of Fan Xian’s lawsuit against the son of the Minister of Rites Guo You. Presently, rumors said that he was in Yanjing leisurely in a position with no obligations. The person who took over being the Jingdou magistrate was removed from his post and investigated because he was implicated in killing people to keep them quiet during Fan Xian and the Second Prince’s fight for power.
In less than three years, the Jingdou magistrate had gone through a number of people. Because of this reason, Sun Jingxiu was able to climb from the position of Fucheng to magistrate. Thus, when the young lady of the Sun family said this was all because of Fan Xian, it wasn’t exactly wrong.
Fan Xian looked calmly at the young lady of the Sun family. His mind was spinning quickly. Positions in the Jingdou government were special. By chance, he had suddenly run into this young lady. Were the heavens helping him with something?
“Young lady Sun, do you trust me?” Fan Xian used a very sincere and plain gaze to look with incomparable purity at Sun Pin’er.
“You can just call me Pin’er,” she said with her head down.
“Pin’er?” Fan Xian’s heart jumped. He knew that his chances had just improved a little. Gently, he said, “Presently, I am a court…”
“I don’t believe it!” Sun Pin’er raised her head in a panic and cut through his words.
“I am a bad…”
Sun Pin’er bit her lip and looked at Fan Xian’s face, which was so close to hers. She did not care that this was Fan Xian’s appearance after he had disguised himself. She only felt that her dream of three years was about to become reality. The man in her dreams had appeared in front of her. She could see him and hear him, and she had even smelled the sweat on his palm earlier.
A wave of panic and anger washed through her heart. How could Sir Fan junior be the bad person that had assassinated the Emperor? She had never entertained such a thought.
Having spoken to his point, what else was there to worry about? Fan Xian gazed warmly at her. Gently and shamelessly, he stated each word clearly, “Young lady… Pin’er, there is something I need your help with.”
Sun Pin’er bit her bottom lip and shook her head forcefully. She said in a small voice, “Quickly light the candles.”
He didn’t know whether she thought the light from the moon outside the window was too dark to clearly see the face of her idol or if she wanted to remind Fan Xian to not draw the suspicions of the servants in the Sun manor.
“Everyone in the entire world is looking for you, but who would think that you are actually hiding in the manor of the Jingdou magistrate. Sir, you and I have known each other for two years, but it is now that I have felt true admiration.” Under the candlelight, a young man sat across from Fan Xian shaking his head.
Fan Xian smiled slightly and gazed at him, “Young master Yan, have you finally learned to admire others?”
He was the first person Fan Xian had contacted after entering the capital, Yan Bingyun. However, after Fan Xian returned to the capital, he never had an appropriate place to live, so this was their first time meeting. As for how Yan Bingyun managed to shake off the surveillance of the internal court and quietly made his way to the Sun manor without attracting attention was not a problem Fan Xian had to worry about. As the only candidate to be the next Commissioner of the Overwatch Council, he had to have at least this much ability.
Yan Bingyun looked at him and said, “Not only do I admire you, the Eldest Princess probably also admires you. Master Sun, the Jingdou magistrate, has been ordered by imperial edict to capture you, yet you’re hiding in his daughter’s boudoir.”
Fan Xian spread his hands and shrugged, “My luck has always been better than other people’s.”
After pausing for a while, his voice became more serious as he said, “Perhaps this is not luck, after all, this is a benefit my past has brought to me.”
Yan Bingyun shifted forward on the chair. His hands were crossed in front of his legs. He rubbed them together. Glancing at the big bed in the rear of the boudoir, he furrowed his brows and said, “Important matters are at hand, trifles should not be bothered with. However, how are you going to use this girl?”
His voice was very low. He was not worried about being overheard by the young lady of the Sun family.
Fan Xian calmly said, “I need a headquarters from which to send out communications. If there wasn’t the Sun manor, I would not be able to talk so calmly with you. It would also be difficult to send down my orders. Thus, the Sun manor is the launch site of the events in Jingdou.”
Yan Bingyun looked at him and shook his head a moment later. He sighed and said, “Only you could do such a thing. But you’re right, no one would guess that you would hide in the Jingdou government.”
“The young lady of the Sun family is willing to help me.” Fan Xian calmly said, “The city gates are essentially half opened for me.”
“I don’t believe that a young lady can have a great influence on her father.”
“This is something I need to think about. What you need to do is to manage from within.” Fan Xian stared into Yan Bingyun’s eyes. “You have to responsible for placing the people coming into the capital evenly in various manors. Once we make a move, it has to be light a lightning strike so we don’t give them any chance to strike back.”
Yan Bingyun paused and said, “But there is a problem at hand. A month ago, all of my power in the Council was taken by Director Chen.”
Fan Xian’s pupils constricted slightly. He said in a low voice, “What is this? Has Chen Pingping gone crazy?”
Yan Bingyun fell silent then said, “We can talk about this later. I am only interested in one matter.”
He stared into Fan Xian’s eyes and asked each word clearly, “Has His Majesty actually died?”
After a death-like silence passed, Fan Xian slowly opened his mouth and said, “Of the entire Dong Mountain, only I escaped. Although I didn’t see it personally, I suspect that it did not end well. Otherwise, the Eldest Princess’ side would not be so confident.”
“What exactly happened on Dong Mountain?”
Fan Xian didn’t have much time to relate the details. He only said, “Ku He, Sigu Jian, and Ye Liuyun probably all arrived.”
Hearing this news, Yan Bingyun’s face turned ashen. He knew the Emperor was never returning to Jingdou again. Gradually, he clenched his fist and continued to ask, “Where are your 500 Black Knights?”
“Hidden outside the capital. I have a way to contact them, but it is very difficult to move them into the capital silently.”
“Now that you have the protection of the Jingdou government, you should have a way to move these people in.” Yan Bingyun hit on Fan Xian’s plans with one sentence.
“Correct. The Black Knights outside the capital are truly no match for the 10,000 Jingdou Garrison soldiers. If they let go and go on a killing spree in the capital along with the help of the Great Prince’s Imperial Army, I think they should be able to have a terrifying effect.”
“The Council still has over a thousand people in Jingdou,” Fan Xian said. “This is all the power we hold. We have to take action before the Eldest Princess controls the 13 city gate guards.”
“There is something I must remind you of.” Yan Bingyun was silent for a moment. He then suddenly said roughly, “If my estimation is correct, Director Chen should have known about the assassination of the Emperor ahead of time and had even secretly aided in the Eldest Princess’ actions.”
Fan Xian’s pupils constricted slightly. He couldn’t speak for a long time. The strange situation of the Overwatch Council was completely laid out in front of his eyes, but he still could not believe that Chen Pingping would play such a role in his matter.
“That shouldn’t be the case,” he lowered his head and said. “The Qin family army has already surrounded the Chen Garden.”
“This is the truth.” A cold light flashed in Yan Bingyun’s eyes as he stared at him. “I don’t care what relationship you had with the Director, but since you are going to carry out of the posthumous edict on the Emperor’s behalf, you have to be careful of this matter. I don’t wish to see you tricked to death before you have a chance to act.”
Fan Xian said, “Relax, I still have confidence in people’s natures. The Director would not harm me.”
He took out the Commissioner token from his clothes and formally handed it to Yan Bingyun. “I don’t know how many people this token can command. Since your powers have been taken, if you want to organize this matter, you should try with this token.”
Without a word, Yan Bingyun accepted the token. He unconsciously glanced at the shadow of the young lady deeper in the room again. He shook his head and said, “It will certainly be useful. I am also beginning to believe in such a thing as luck.”
Fan Xian smiled and said, “I once heard this saying, men conquer the world while women conquer the world through conquering men.”
Yan Bingyun rose and prepared to leave. Turning his head to glance at him, he shook his head in disagreement, “I have long discovered that throughout your life it seems that you are conquering the world through conquering women.”