Joy of Life - Chapter 553 - Giving Him A Taste Of His Own Medicine[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:49:51]
Chapter 553: Giving Him A Taste Of His Own Medicine
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Yuan Hongdao struggled into consciousness. He had an immense pain in the back of his head. He didn’t know what environment he was in. Since he had a career that required him to spend many years hidden at the enemy’s side, he had the habit of remaining silent at all times.
Like Wang Qinian, this official of the Overwatch Council had countless questions on his mind. Six months ago, the Emperor had moved against the Eldest Princess for the first time. Although Yuan Hongdao wasn’t sure of the reason for that, the Overwatch Council was able to sweep away all of the Eldest Princess’ apparent forces within half an hour because of this supposed top Xinyang strategist.
After that mission, he should have left behind such a life. Following the orders of the Council, he should have chosen a beautiful place and retired with honor. However, after escaping from the side courtyard, Yan Ruohai had told him to return to Xinyang.
Return to Xinyang!
Logically speaking, after the Eldest Princess’ Xinyang strategist had fortunately escaped the Overwatch Council’s killing, he should have returned to Xinyang. Yuan Hongdao sensed something different from this Overwatch Council order.
If, after that stormy night, the Eldest Princess was destined to fall and be forever locked up, then why would Director Chen instruct him to return to Xinyang?
What exactly was the court thinking? What was he to do after returning to Xinyang? Yuan Hongdao had been thinking about this question constantly during these few months. After the Eldest Princess easily went through the guards around the side courtyard to send her plans to Xinyang and gradually shifted the people there into Jingdou, he finally understood some things.
From the beginning of the mission, the Overwatch Council knew that the Eldest Princess wouldn’t be completely knocked down. The Emperor had never intended for the Eldest Princess to be unable to rise again. Thus, that was why they had him return to Xinyang to wait for the Eldest Princess to summon him and for that moment to come.
Now, the Emperor had gone to Dong Mountain and been assassinated, Jingdou was in turmoil, the Crown Prince was going to take the throne, and the Eldest Princess was contacting the military and preparing to rebel. Even though the Eldest Princess had not let Yuan Hongdao in when she had planned the set up at Dong Mountain, he had participated personally in the latter matters. So, he had known of the news at the beginning of the Eldest Princess’s plans.
It seemed that it was time for him to demonstrate his ability as the best spy in the Qing Kingdom. At this moment, Yuan Hongdao shockingly realized that he had no way to send out a report or of contacting the Overwatch Council.
All of the communication channels had become ineffective in an instant. The one-way connection had mysteriously broken. Yuan Hongdao had no way of contacting Yan Ruohai, much less Chen Pingping. A spy at his level could not just charge into the Overwatch Council and yell loudly.
Although his expression was calm, his heart was terrified and uneasy. He didn’t know exactly what had happened in the Overwatch Council. This feeling of unease had persisted until Fan Xian had abruptly broken into the Palace and began to use the martial powers under his command to purge Jingdou of opposing forces.
Yuan Hongdao had secretly cooperated with the Overwatch Council’s actions and allowed the Eldest Princess’s temporary residence in the Royal Palace to be taken. He knew that Fan Xian had already made a fatal mistake. Thus, in the final moment, he had taken the risk and cried out to the Overwatch Council official.
He didn’t trust anyone. When it came down to it, since he couldn’t contact Chen Pingping or Yan Ruohai, the person he trusted most in the entire court was Chen Pingping’s successor, Sir Fan junior.
It was a pity that he didn’t know that Mu Feng’er was such a hotheaded fellow, so he had tragically been knocked out.
Yuan Hongdao calmed his breathing and opened his eyes. He found that he was in a corner building in the Royal Palace. In front of him stood a handsome young man, who was looking at him with a face full of worry. He knew this man. Although he didn’t understand why he would personally question him at such a critical time, he spoke straightforwardly.
“Zhang Fang belongs to the Eldest Princess.”
Fan Xian nodded and didn’t say anything. The Commander of the 13 city gate guards Zhang Fang, a figure that everyone thought was virtuous, clean, and loyal to a fault, was actually the Eldest Princess’s man. This truth was enough to shock everyone, but it was unable to add more concerns to his already helpless state of mind.
Yan Bingyun had not come back. The official responsible for keeping an eye on the proceedings had also not returned. Something must have gone wrong at the city gate department.
It was a pity that Yuan Hongdao had woken up too late.
Fan Xian sighed in his heart. The sky was already nearing dawn. The Jingdou city gate department had failed in their duty. The Ye and Qin families’ armies could enter the city at any moment. At such a critical moment, he shouldn’t have thought of Yuan Hongdao. As he looked at the officials resting in Taiji Palace, he, with his heart full of impatience, had suddenly thought of something his father-in-law had once told him in Wuzhou.
The wicked Prime Minister Lin Ruofu feared three people during his life in court. Other than Chen Pingping and Fan Jian, it was the military leader, the old Master Qin. This powerful Prime Minister had said seriously to Fan Xian that he would not give him a list of his students in court to prevent Fan Xian from growing too powerful and becoming a target.
Unless, a new Emperor was being crowned.
Fan Xian was helping the Third Prince take the throne. Thus, the civil officials in Jingdou in the Lin faction had torn away their disguises and were standing behind Fan Xian, following the scholars Hu and Shu in preventing the Crown Prince from ascending.
Fan Xian thought to himself that his father-in-law had been clever his entire life and calculated this timing well. He just wasn’t sure whether or not things would go well this time.
The last words that Prime Minister Lin said had always stayed in Fan Xian’s memory.
“If, one day, the capital actually falls into chaos, perhaps Yuan Hongdao will be able to help you.”
A year ago, Lin Ruofu had known about the Dong Mountain matter. Fan Xian was admiring of his father-in-law’s foresight. Thus, he had never forgotten the hint he had given him. When he had sunk into a situation from which he could not extricate himself, he immediately thought of the top Xinyang strategist that served under the Eldest Princess.
As expected, Sir Yuan was actually a spy the Overwatch Council had inserted into Xinyang. This reality shocked Fan Xian, but he immediately became angry. If they had known one step earlier of the problem with the city gate department, then he and the Great Prince would not be so passive. In the end, it was still too late. This was still a matter of fate. Who knew how much longer his luck would last?
Yuan Hongdao stared into Fan Xian’s eyes and said, “Why couldn’t I make contact with the Council?” Although the tone of his words was calm, there was boundless rage within it. It lacked all of Sir Yuan’s usual ease. He had precious intelligence reports on the Eldest Princess’s side but was unable to provide it to the Overwatch Council and court. Being unable to demonstrate his loyalty to the Qing Kingdom and the Emperor made Sir Yuan feel very strange. Anger grew from that.
Fan Xian was silent and unsure of what to say. If it was possible, he wanted to personally ask Chen Pingping some questions.
The morning wind blew through the tall tower of the palace walls, gradually reducing the stench of blood from the previous night. There was also very little burning smell from the private residences in Jingdou. However, the pitiful people still did go out and kept their doors shut in fear. They hid on their own beds praying that these people’s killing game would end quickly.
The horn on the palace walls rang out continuously. The sound was vigorous and powerful. No one knew how far it would travel.
Fan Xian stood beside Yuan Hongdao with a calm expression and said, “The Jingdou Garrison won’t be able to enter the capital until noon. The Ye and Qin families’ armies are still three days away. If we act quickly, we can still take back the nine city gates.”
A glimmer of astonishment flashed through Yuan Hongdao’s eyes that immediately turned into a spark of angry fire. Angrily he said, “Does the Council have no one in the Garrison?”
Fan Xian’s heart jumped. He abruptly turned his body to look at him.
Yuan Hongdao looked at him and said each word clearly, “The Qin army is marching through the night. They’re probably not far from Jingdou.”
Fan Xian closed his lips tightly as his face became pale.
The reason he had not panicked when he learned of the city gate department rebellion was because he believed he knew clearly the actions of the old Qin family. As long as the army had not arrived, he could use the Imperial Army’s superior military power and the Overwatch Council’s wounding power to recapture control of the nine city gates.
The Qin family’s army was about to arrive.
Yan Bingyun, that old man, was in the Qin family. How could he have not sent back the message that the army had departed?
Fan Xian walked to the Great Prince’s side and said, “Pull the troops back to the Palace. The Qin family’s army is about to arrive.”
The Great Prince’s brows pulled together tightly. The Imperial Army had just left the Royal Palace, yet they had to pull them back now based on information that he found impossible to believe. He knew what mattered now was reaction speed. He didn’t have time to discuss anything with Fan Xian. He took a deep breath and had a personal guard at his side wave the little yellow flag in his hand.
The flag waved as the horn on top of the palace walls rang out again. The rhythm increased and became tighter. The lines of the Imperial Army moving out of the Royal Palace like pale dragons abruptly heard the signal to return to camp. By chance, they all began to retreat and head in the direction of the Royal Palace. The troops already deep into the residential streets also began to move.
Fan Xian gestured toward his subordinate beside him, who nodded his head. He took out a signal arrow from inside his sleeve and fired it out, drawing a chilling screaming in the air in front of the royal palace.
Immediately after, the Bureau of Military Affairs, the Overwatch Council, and various important streets all responded to the sound breaking through the air.
When the signal arrow fell, the nearly 2,000 Overwatch Council secret agents in Jingdou heard the signal and moved, disappearing into the streets and alleys.
In a moment, hardly anyone could be seen in the streets, particularly on Tianhe Avenue. It passed in front of the Overwatch Council and Bureau of Military Affairs and headed directly toward the Royal Palace. It was quiet enough to make one’s heart tremble. There were only a few green leaves being chased by the autumn evening breeze that landed and rolled along the expansive street.
“Regardless of how the Crown Prince had learned of the Palace break-in and escaped,” Fan Xian stood by the Great Prince’s side and said, “the Eldest Princess’s exit was clearly planned. She had long guessed what we would do.”
The Great Prince’s brows were pulled tightly together. Looking down from on high on the movements in all of Jingdou, he analyzed the direction the army would enter Jingdou from and what he should do afterward.
“All of our forces had come in to break into the Palace. She is relying on the Ye and Qin families’ armies, which are grandly entering from the city gates that we are unable to control,” Fan Xian said calmly. “She gave the Royal Palace to us and then surrounded it to play with… Does this count as giving us a taste of our own medicine?”
Fan Xian’s palm gently patted the solid green bricks of the palace wall and faintly said, “In the end, we still underestimated this aunt of ours.”
The Eldest Princess knew where Fan Xian’s and the Overwatch Council’s advantages were. She had willingly backed out, allowing Fan Xian to break into the Palace and appear that he controlled everything.
Presently, the Palace held the empress dowager and Third Prince, as well as Yi Guipin, Lady Ning, and countless other nobles. There were also the scholars Hu and Shu, many civil officials loyal to Fan Xian, and subordinates.
These people represented power but were also a burden. If Fan Xian had a pair of wings, the people the Eldest Princess had purposely left in the Palace were like metal hammers attached to Fan Xian’s wings, stopping him from flying as he wished.
Even if the army surrounded the city, it probably wouldn’t be able to hold such a scary and powerful nightwalker as Fan Xian. However, now that he had the weight of the Qing Kingdom’s succession on his shoulders and the lives of countless people in the Palace, how could he escape? How could he bear to escape?
The Great Prince was silent, only occasionally giving out orders as he prepared to protect the Royal Palace and readied the equipment. He didn’t have the leisure to chat with Fan Xian at a time like this because he knew how dangerous the situation was he was about to meet.
Fan Xian watched everything happening in Jingdou woodenly as if he saw Li Yunrui’s beautiful face looking at him with a coquettish gaze quietly saying, “My good son-in-law, I have prepared many things for you.”
He spat into the Royal Palace like he was spitting on her face. He had to admit that his mother-in-law was indeed much more powerful than him in this area. However, Fan Xian thought to himself that if it wasn’t for those strange reasons, he wouldn’t be trapped in the Royal Palace right now.
“How long can we hold it for?” he asked the Great Prince.
The Great Prince’s expression was severe. He said in a low voice, “The walls of the Royal Palace are tall. If the Ye and Qin families attack the night they arrive and do not have large scale city attacking machines, then I can hold it until the last moment.”
As the Commander of the Western Expedition Army, the Great Prince had experienced countless bloody battles in his lifetime. When faced with an army descending on the capital, he wasn’t panicked. However, the “last moment” in his words said everything.
“Since Li Yunrui has had this plan for a long time, the Ye and Qin families must have made preparations,” Fan Xian lowered his head and said “I only hope you can hold out for a few days. I can only count on you to lead armies and do battle.”
“Hold out until the messengers have informed the other armies and Governors of the Six Roads,” Fan Xian said
The Great Prince swept his gaze over him and said bluntly, “Don’t count on that. It’s impossible that the messengers are still alive.”
Fan Xian sighed in his heart and thought, I’m not waiting for those people.