Joy of Life - Chapter 552[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:49:50]
Chapter 552: The Shadow Of Chen Pingping As He Fled From Calamity, As Well As Children
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
One of Yan Bingyun’s hands was broken and hung uselessly by his waist. He looked at the Eldest Princess. His gaze appeared dim. The pain in his chest let him know that the earlier contact had given him internal injuries. The aces beside the Eldest princess were not people with whom he could contend.
At this moment, the 13 gate guard departments had been heavily surrounded by soldiers. All the long spears pointed at Xiao Yan. Of the aces beside the Eldest Princess, two of them stood out and charged toward Yan Bingyun quickly. Holding sharp blades in their hands, they gave off a death-like smell that enveloped him.
If only the Emperor had listened to An Zhi and swept out the entire Junshang Conference before he died. This thought came involuntarily into his mind. He knew he wasn’t a match for these jianghu aces. He didn’t entertain any farfetched hopes that the heavens would give him a chance to escape. He only stood with a heavy expression and drew something from inside his clothes.
It was a signal arrow. Since there was a rebellion at the city gate department, he had to report Zhang Deqing’s fatal betrayal of Zhang Ruochen in the Palace before he died.
Yan Bingyun’s index finger caught on the ring of the signal arrow. Looking at the two black sword shadows that came closer and closer, his pupils constricted. He spat out a mouthful of muddy air before pressing his lips tightly together and pulling with force.
With a puff, the signal arrow lit up. It didn’t rise into the air. A small force hit against his wrist and a splash of slightly warm liquid poured onto the back of his hand, making his heart tremble. This signal arrow flew out but didn’t fly far. It shot into the chest of a city gate soldier and exploded slightly.
Yan Bingyun didn’t lower his head. Slanting his gaze, he saw fresh blood pouring out of his hand.
When his index finger extended into the ring, a terrifying expression appeared in the eyes of the Junshang Conference ace closes to him. It was like if he saw some unusually terrifying thing. Then, a thin line of blood appeared on the ace’s neck.
The bloody line extended in an instant and became a large bloody wound. One could see his white throat bones, the extremely disgusting windpipe, esophagus, and mangled flesh.
With a click, the ace stopped in front of Yan Bingyun and knelt down with a crash. With the powerful crash, his half-sawed through neck could not support his head. With his vertebrae as the center of his head, he fell backward uselessly.
The upside-down white face of the dead man had his eyes wide open, staring at the Eldest Princess and Zhang Deqing, who were protected behind layers of aces and soldiers.
The fresh blood sprouted like a fountain from his throat. It landed on Yan Bingyun’s hand and covered his entire hand in bright red. It also just happened to stop the signal arrow from rising into the sky.
The other ace of the Junshang Conference that charged forward faced an even more tragic end. He didn’t even reach Yan Bingyun. His eyes only caught a faint shadow cast by the torches passing in front of him and felt a coldness at his throat.
A delicate and unreflective sword came from behind him to the right. With unusual steadiness and mercilessness at high speed, it pierced through his neck and extended out the other side.
With a splutter, the tip of the sword moved like the tongue of a snake, darting forward and then immediately withdrawing, leaving his neck like lightning. The zhenqi and life in the ace left his body as the sword left his neck. His eyes were open like dead fish. His hand tried to cover his neck, but he found that he was already no longer able to control any muscle in his body.
His legs turned to water as his vision dimmed and his bowels released. He fell down. Like a gourd, he rolled across the ground, past Yan Bingyun’s frozen body, and only stopped when he hit the tall threshold of the hall.
The smell of blood was strong. The stench of rust also emanated from his body.
A sword that seemed to have reached out from hell had dealt with two of the aces from Junshang Conference with terrifying skill. No one had realized what had happened. Even Yan Bingyun, who had been rescued, had no idea what had happened and stood where he was in shock.
Then, he felt his body become light. In the next moment, he had been lifted by the neck by a black shadow and was flying above the hall. Following the shadows below the lofty city walls, they headed toward the darkness in Jingdou.
The darkness before dawn was particularly thick.
In the eyes of the people trying to kill Yan Bingyun, it was an even more terrifying scene. A black shadow seemed to have appeared without sound among the crowd and easily killed the two aces with unusual ferocity. Then, it had lifted Yan Bingyun like a burlap bag and easily took him out, despite being surrounded by many people.
It was so terrifying because it was so easy. With three snaps, Yan Bingyun had been saved by this person. Meanwhile, the soldiers of the city gate department didn’t even have time to lift the bows in their hands.
Who was this shadow to have such terrifying power?
The Eldest Princess, who had been protected at the back by the aces and soldiers, waved her hands to disperse the subordinates in front of her. With a slightly pale face, she walked out from the crowd and looked in the direction the black shadow had escaped in. No one knew how she was feeling. They could only watch as her eyes grew brighter and brighter.
The Overwatch Council is indeed very scary, the main conspirator of the Jingdou revolt thought to herself. But, she didn’t feel a great sense of failure. Since it was the world’s best assassin who had come, there was nothing she could do to stop it when he used his skills to save Yan Bingyun.
However, it shouldn’t impact anything.
As Li Yunrui thought this, she narrowed her eyes at the soldiers near the city gate. At this time, the sky was gradually growing brighter. The sun below the horizon began to send out countless silver fish, which used their bellies to reflect their own light, gradually chasing away the thick darkness of the night.
The torch already did not seem very bright. The warm morning light struck everyone’s bodies and cast lines of shadows on the ground.
Of course, the Overwatch Council was scary. The eight bureaus had a great deal of hidden talent. There were countless heroes who were willing to hide their faces and give up their past glory to throw themselves into Qing Kingdom’s secret service. This power was gathered in one place. The might it could exhibit made even the Emperor, the most powerful person in Qing Kingdom, secretly wary.
Even though the Qing Emperor was nominally directly in charge of the Overwatch Council, everyone knew that the reason the Overwatch Council was able to attract so many skilled people to provide their services, to be able to exist tyrannically in Qing Kingdom for over 30 years, was completely due to the old cripple sitting in the wheelchair.
Jingdou only had 1,000 or so officials of the Overwatch Council, yet it was terrifying. They had entered the Royal Palace, suppressed d the Ministry of Justice, forcefully open the Celestial Prison, and subdued the Jingdou government. In one night, they had turned Jingdou upside down.
Fan Xian had planned well. Yan Bingyun had carried it out well. To be able to achieve such results was completely reliant on the Overwatch Council officials’ strong power of organization and iron-blooded obedience. These qualities, which were unique to the Overwatch Council, had been slowly, drop by drop, immersed into the spirit of the Overwatch Council by Chen Pingping, the old cripple, and the first generation of the heads of the eight bureaus over dozens of years.
Thus, the most powerful part of the Overwatch Council was not the Black Riders, Fan Xian, or the best assassin in the world. Rather, it was Chen Pingping, the person and all that he represented.
The Crown Prince and Eldest Princess had planned the assassination of the Emperor on Dong Mountain. She clearly knew of the Overwatch Council’s power, yet it seemed that the attention she gave it was much too little. From the perspective of the Crown Prince, who was filled with unease, if he wanted to take the throne, he had to first control Chen Pingping. Otherwise, who would dare sit on that dragon chair?
Fortunately, Chen Pingping had been poisoned and segregated outside of Jingdou.
The Crown Prince had originally thought that this was his aunt’s doing. No one knew that this matter had absolutely nothing to do with Li Yunrui.
From the beginning, Li Yunrui had not thought of defeating the Chen Garden outside Jingdou and the old man in the wheelchair. It was not because she underestimated Chen Pingping or thought he was an impossible to remove strange old creature. Rather, it was because she had a secret.
The secret belonged to one person that the other people in the plan did not know. After the news of Chen Pingping being poisoned by the great master from Dongyi reached Jingdou, everyone was shocked and thought that this old cripple was faking it. When the news of the Emperor’s assassination arrived and the empress dowager ordered Chen Pingping to immediately enter the Palace, he remained in the Chen Garden. Everyone began make assumptions.
Perhaps Chen Pingping had truly been poisoned? Thus, the old man who had known Chen Pingping for dozens of years began to become restless and started to have ideas. This old man always had a secret fear toward Chen Pingping. If he didn’t kill him, his heart would never be at ease. The current situation made it advantageous to take his life while he was ill. If he didn’t take this opportunity to take Chen Pingping’s life, the old man would never forgive himself.
Thus, after the old vegetable-planting Master Qin had left Jingdou and regained control of the army, and after his son had regained control over the Jingdou Garrison, his first order was to massacre the Chen Garden.
Chen Garden was now a wasteland.
Chen Garden, which in Fan Xian’s eyes was even more luxurious and extravagant than Ming Garden in Jiangnan, had become countless pieces of blackened remains. The beautiful and elegant woods had been burned into black earth. The exquisite and stylish rooms had become countless bits of rubble. There was smoke everywhere, but it no longer had the warmth of people. It appeared unusually cold.
Fan Xian saw this scene and felt that this heart was going to die from the pain. He opened his mouth and scolded those who didn’t know how to treasure anything. From the past to now, the military had never needed the appreciation of beauty. When a branch of the Qin family’s army attacked as suddenly as a peal of thunder, they naturally set everything on fire.
This fire was not set for the same reasons as the Eight-Nation Alliance. The Eight-Nation Alliance were thieves who thought that were too many things they couldn’t take away. They decided they may as well burn it and not leave it for the people. However, the Qin family set the fire but hadn’t taken anything or captured anyone.
The traps and triggers outside Chen Garden, which had once made Fan Xian’s heart tremble, were still there. About 300 people had died in the Qin family’s army before they broke into the garden. However, they didn’t find a single living person.
What welcomed them was an empty garden. The supposedly poisoned and bedridden Director Chen was not in the garden. His beautiful female entertainers were not in the garden, nor were the servants. It seemed everyone had moved out a long time ago with unusual thoroughness. Even the pictures that used to hang on the walls had been taken down.
Chen Pingping liked those pictures.
This army controlled by the Qin family was mainly made up of Jingdou Garrison soldiers. The leading general was from the second generation of the Qin family and a cousin to Qin Heng. He looked at the empty Chen Garden with exasperation and anger. He had led the attack here and lost so many people only to end up with an empty garden.
In a great rage, he lit the fire.
Amidst the roaring flames, he ordered a fast rider to report back to the Yuantai Camp. He didn’t lead the army back because old Master Qin had given a death order. Since he had moved against Chen Garden, then he had to kill Chen Pingping before returning.
Without any other choice, he could only subdue his usual pride and respectfully ask for help from the black-clothed man next to him. This black-clothed man had been sent by the old Master to help him. As the army made their way here, he had once said that Chen Garden was completely empty at this time.
The Qin General still didn’t trust him. At this time, he had no choice but to trust him and sighed in his heart. After all, he was a senior figure in the Overwatch Council and much more knowledgeable about Chen Pingping’s strengths and calculations.
Yan Ruohai, with his face covered, rode his horse beside the Qin General and said, “Since the Director has gone, then you must be mentally prepared. Don’t think that you will be able to capture him in a short amount of time.”
The Qin General stared.
Yan Ruohai glanced at him and mockingly said, “Don’t forget, he is Chen Pingping.”
After saying this, he pulled on his horse’s head and rode out of Chen Garden. He couldn’t bear to glance at the roaring fire. He wondered what form of human statue the Director would carve the General who burned down Chen Garden into.
He was a man of the Qin family. It seemed that this secret was only known to the Qin family. The Crown Prince and Eldest Princess did not seem aware of it. However, he was a man of the Overwatch Council. This secret was only truly known by the Overwatch Council. The Qin family was not aware of it.
Jingdou was gradually becoming the center of a grave situation. Memorials from various provinces entered the capital, but no edict came out from Jingdou. Fortunately, in this era, communication was not convenient. Everyone was used to a slow rhythm. Even though the provinces around Jingdou felt that it was strange, they did not think that Jingdou was in a dangerous situation and become fearful.
At least during these rest days, the entire Qing Kingdom, other than Jingdou and Dongshan Road, were peaceful as usual.
The morning in Weizhou was not much different from the morning in Jingdou. The Director of the Overwatch Council, Chen Pingping, who should have been handling the matter of succession in Jingdou or recovering from poison in the Chen Garden, raised his eyes at the glimmer of light in the sky above the courtyard house. He furrowed his brows and began to raise his chopsticks to eat the porridge and bun.
When he was in Chen Garden, he also liked to eat these two things.
When the empress dowager’s edict had reached Chen Garden, this senior of the secret service in Qing Kingdom had immediately ordered his servants to prepare a carriage and tidy his luggage. He didn’t return to the capital. Rather, he slipped away with unusual speed.
Fan Xian and the Great Prince had stood on the palace walls and thought about running away with anxious expressions. They had not thought that the elder closest to them had acted far more directly and efficiently in this area.
After a row of carriages left Chen Garden, it made a loop around the rural area to the south of Jingdou. The group of the Qin family army behind the carriages continued to search for the whereabouts of these carriages with unflagging efforts in an attempt to kill them.
Chen Pingping was not anxious. The carriages did not increase their speed. They didn’t even purposely cover their traces. They only lured the army into making circles behind them.
The group of carriages made three circles to the south of Jingdou. The army also made three circles. The reason they never caught up, other than the Overwatch Council’s powerful intelligence network among the people outside the capital and their ability to go into hiding, was because the army had a talented guide.
Yan Ruohai led the Qin family in hunting down Chen Pingping. Even with thinking with one’s ass, one knew that as long as that Chen Pingping did not wish to be caught, they would never catch up.
The fleeing group of carriages that moved like they were traveling finally stopped in a country estate outside Weizhou, the first large province to the south of Jingdou. Chen Pingping estimated that it was about the right time.
He was drinking porridge. His teeth were fine. He wasn’t leaning against the wall. However, the Overwatch Council elders who sat beside him felt that he was acting rather shamelessly.
Jingdou was in such turmoil and two of your nephews were teetering on the brink of death. How could you bear to run away by yourself?
There were three people sitting around Chen Pingping’s breakfast table. One was an old servant that had served him for dozens of years in Chen Garden. One was the head of the Seventh Bureau that Fan Xian had once met in the Overwatch Council’s Celestial Prison, the bald man. The other was the man who was as equally famous as Wang Qinian and one of the best in the Overwatch Council, Zui Zong.
From the rear of the country estate came the wondrous sounds of the female entertainers washing, playing, and laughing after rising from bed. These women did not know they were fleeing from trouble.
The three elders of the Overwatch Council did not have happy expressions. Zui Zong pressed his lips together and licked his lips, which were dry from nerves. “The soldiers following us are already very close. Director, please make a plan.”
“They are about to turn back their troops. This is not an urgent matter.” Chen Pingping put down his chopsticks and calmly wiped his mouth. “Go out and arrange it.”
“Yes.” Zui Zong and the bald leader of the Seventh Bureau accepted the order and left.
In the courtyard, there was only Chen Pingping and the old servant left. Chen Pingping suddenly began to cough with great discomfort. The old man’s face turned blood red and then immediately became pale white again. A strand of blood seeped out of the corner of his lips.
The old servant cried and said, “Old Master, you have to call Sir Fei back, otherwise what are you going to do about this poison?”
Chen Pingping had actually been poisoned. He sat in the wheelchair and smiled self-mockingly. “It won’t kill me. It’s just uncomfortable.”
“Master… It’s quite dangerous in the capital. Are you truly not worried about Sir Fan junior?” The old servant glanced at Chen Pingping and asked carefully.
More lines suddenly appeared on Chen Pingping’s old face. A moment later, he sighed and said, “How can I not worry? However, even if things fail, presumably he would be able to survive. As long as he is alive, everything is fine.”
The old servant thought to himself that this matter involved a battle for the throne. If Sir Fan junior truly failed, how could he survive? If the Crown Prince actually inherited the kingdom, this group of carriages would probably never find a place to live again in Qing Kingdom’s expansive territory. The old servant suddenly thought of something and was overjoyed. “Right, Minister Fan and King Jing have yet to take action.”
Over these few days, Chen Pingping often discussed the situation in Jingdou with those old men below him. The old servant had always listened to the side and was very knowledgeable about the matchup of the factions in Jingdou. If the 13 city gate guards actually failed in their duty and the Ye and Qin families’ armies entered the capital, how could the Overwatch Council resist them? Unless Fan Jian and King Jing had some power to flip the tables, Director Chen would be able to sit calmly in his chair and not worry about Fan Xian.
“King Jing is like the old Qin man. They only know how to release their anger toward the earth,” Chen Pingping said slightly mockingly. “Fan Jian has succeeded in life through silent endurance but also fell to that. How could he have enough power in his hands to change the present situation? Afraid that the Palace would suspect him, our Minister Fan has silently endured a great deal these years. However, now he has endured himself into trouble.”
After saying this, Chen Pingping fell silent. He knew where Fan Jian’s greatest strength was. The problem was that the Emperor had taken that entire group of people when he went to worship heaven and didn’t leave a single one. They didn’t yet know whether or not one of them managed to survive.
With a series of flaps, a number of white pigeons followed the morning light and flew into the courtyard. The old servant went forward and caught one, bringing it to Chen Pingping.
Chen Pingping untied a slender tube on the pigeon’s leg. His brows gradually furrowed together as he read the words on it. A moment later, he summoned a subordinate of the Overwatch Council and ordered in a low voice, “Follow the orders from a day ago and have everyone keep moving. Continue blocking all news about Dongshan Road. The group from the court who reacted quickly are about to arrive.”
It was a long time before Chen Pingping woke from a dazed state of mind. It was not until today that Qing Kingdom’s most incredible schemer finally felt a glimmer of helplessness. Perhaps it was the power of the poison or the power of age that made him feel a glimmer of exhaustion and a faint disappointment.
“Fan Xian won’t die so easily.” It was hard to tell if he was comforting the old servant or himself. Chen Pingping calmly said, “At least I helped this kid draw away a thousand soldiers. He should be much less pressured.”
“You have to know, it is not an easy task to have a person die.
Chen Pingping pushed his wheelchair toward the rear of the courtyard. The old servant quickly pushed it for him. When they passed a flowerpot, they saw a little white flower trembling in the early autumn weather. Chen Pingping’s expression didn’t change, but he stopped and looked for a long time. He then slowly bent his body forward and picked it, carefully putting it behind his ear.
The old servant smiled and pushed him into a side room in the rear of the courtyard.
When they entered the side room, Chen Pingping suddenly said to him, “If Fan Xian knew that he was already a father, he would certainly learn to be more careful with his own life.”
The light in the side room was not very bright, but one could clearly see a woman about 20 years old looking at a child in her arms with a face full of love. This woman, whose face was filled with maternal love, was Sisi, who had disappeared from the Fan country estate outside Jingdou.
Chen Pingping pushed his wheelchair forward and took the newly born child from her arms with a face full of tender love. He looked at the red flush on the child’s face. He clicked his tongue a few times and then teasingly said, “She’s so quiet. If your father saw you, he would like you a great deal.”
Sisi looked at this scene with a sweet smile. She then saw the little white flower by Chen Pingping’s temple and asked curiously, “Director, why are you wearing a flower?’
“Last time I held this child, she cried. It looks like I am too ugly. I wore a flower today… Look, she’s indeed not crying.”
The lines on Chen Pingping’s face turned into a chrysanthemum from his smiling. That kind of love could not be feigned. He probably liked the little girl in his arms like she was his own granddaughter.
Sisi was still not very strong after giving birth. She gazed at Chen Pingping and suddenly said unhappily, “It’s just… Who knows when the young master will come back.”
When she had been taken away by Chen Pingping, Sisi had been very surprised. When she gave birth, neither Wan’er nor the familiar people of the Fan manor were at her side. There was only the nanny that Chen Pingping had arranged to handle the birth. This girl’s state of mind had been greatly tormented.
She knew that the Director did not have any ill intentions. She just didn’t understand why she had to give birth outside of the manor. Involuntarily, she thought of the secrets of some of the big families, which made her spirits low.
“Fan Xian will be back in just a few days.” Chen Pingping smiled and comforted her. “The most important thing for a woman recuperating after childbirth is to be happy, which is why he asked me to take you out for a walk.”
This reason was clearly implausible, but Sisi’s brain was clearly not working well after giving birth. She believed him.
“Rest first,” Chen Pingping said to Sisi. He liked the child so much he wouldn’t put her down for a moment. “I’ll take her out for a walk.”
Sisi said, “Don’t let her catch a cold.”
Chen Pingping nodded his head obediently. One always had to be obedient when taking the child to play in front of their mother.
Chen Pingping teased the infant girl all the way to a different room. He said to the person inside the room, “Let me show you Fan Xian’s daughter.”
The person was bound up tightly. Their face was full of unease and hurt. Hearing these words, they suddenly became overjoyed and said, “Director, has she given a name yet?”
He suddenly saw the little white flower beside Chen Pingping’s hair and inspiration struck him, “Call her Fan Xiaohua. Sir will certainly like it.”
The person who gave a name with such comedy was Fan Xian’s trusted aide, Wang Qinian. No one knew how he had escaped from Dong Mountain or why he was tied up by Chen Pingping in a room.
Chen Pingping glared at him and said, “What bullsh*t.”
Wang Qinian had clearly lost a great deal of weight. He had clearly suffered much torment after escaping from Dong Mountain. He looked at the female infant in the Director’s arms and was overjoyed. Suddenly, he thought of his daughter in Jingdou and of Fan Xian, who was currently caught up in the heart of the storm. For some reason, he felt grieved, “Who knows if he will be able to see his own daughter?”
With a sorrowful expression, he said, “What exactly happened? I don’t understand.”
Chen Pingping’s face was calm. “I also don’t know what will happen in Jingdou, but I know that something will happen in Jingdou.”
Fan Xian stood on top of the palace walls and looked at the rising sun in the east and red glow in the sky. His brows gradually furrowed together as he let out a sigh. They still hadn’t found Wan’er and Da Bao’s whereabouts. Fortunately, there had been news from King Jing’s manor that his father and Lady Liu were both fine and headed toward the Royal Palace.
Counting on his fingers, Sisi’s due date had arrived. He had no idea whether the girl was alright right or if the child was a male or female.
Of all the members of his family, he was actually least worried about the soon-to-give-birth Sisi. Since the manor had tacitly approved of this matter, then the person that had taken Sisi away was no one other than the old cripple in Chen Garden, who was solitary to death.
Currently, he was worried about Yan Bingyun. After Yan Bingyun entered the city gate department, no further news had come back. The Overwatch Council official responsible for reporting news had also disappeared without a trace. All of this indicated that something had gone wrong. Fan Xian had informed the Great Prince to start making arrangements. However, he was confused as to why Yan Bingyun had not fired the signal arrow.
The rising sun rose above the horizon line. Fan Xian’s heart suddenly jumped, as if sensing something wondrous was happening in the world. These wondrous things did not exist within Jingdou. The situation in Jingdou was dangerous, so Fan Xian had to comfort himself that at the most dangerous time, someone would come rescue him on a multi-colored cloud.