Joy of Life - Chapter 557 - Placing Three Idols On The Palace Walls[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:49:52]
Chapter 557: Placing Three Idols On The Palace Walls
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Fan Xian’s gentle words instantly astonished the tens of thousands of people inside and outside the Royal Palace. They felt it was absolutely absurd. The rebel army had surrounded the Palace. There was nowhere for the people inside to escape. Yet, Sir Fan junior was shamelessly urging the Crown Prince to surrender.
Dressed in martial attire and on his horse, the Crown Prince sucked in a cold breath. He thought to himself that An Zhi’s skin was indeed getting thicker and thicker to be able to say such a thing so naturally. If someone unaware of the situation had heard it, they would probably think that it was Li Chengqian who had been chased as pitifully as a rabbit today and not Fan Xian.
Speaking of which, it was rather remarkable. In just one night, Fan Xian had changed from a criminal of the court to the so-called regent of the country. He had left behind his life of exile, abruptly entered the Palace, and almost captured the Crown Prince in one action, successfully turning the tables. However, in the early hours of the morning, the Crown Prince had luckily escaped and the army had entered the city. They had trapped Fan Xian inside the Palace.
Li Chengqian raised his face to look at his two brothers on the Palace walls. After smiling bitterly, he shook his head and thought self-mockingly that after the old Qin Master had spoken, it should be he who sincerely urged his elder brother to surrender. Unexpectedly, Fan Xian had stolen his words and caused his words to be stuck in his mouth. Fan Xian was indeed wily to an extreme.
Scattered horse hooves rang out to the right side of the square. Li Chengqian unconsciously twisted his head to see the Dingzhou army entering the capital from the western city gate. It was slowly coming closer to the central troops where he was. He furrowed his brows as he saw the Second Prince’s handsome face at the head of thousands of soldiers. A faint chill rose in his heart. His second brother’s thoughts were not simple. His face was extremely like Fan Xian’s, and his secret agenda was just as sinister.
The Dingzhou troops slowly stopped to the right of the rebel army and carefully maintained a polite attitude toward the rebel army camp.
“Brother, you and I…” The Crown Prince Li Chengqian glanced at the Second Prince and finally opened his mouth. He couldn’t wait for the Second prince to speak, but he had no internal strength for support. He had to shout to be heard by those on top of the palace walls. Although he still had the royal dignity that he had nurtured for over 10 years in the Eastern Palace, in comparison, he was not as valiant as when Fan Xian viciously attacked the Qin family.
Fan Xian dug his finger into his ear and glanced at the Great Prince but didn’t say anything because the Great Prince was listening intently. Everything the Crown Prince said had been within his calculations. It was nothing more than an attempt to persuade the Great Prince through brotherly affection and, at the same time, place the blame of what happened on Dong Mountain on Fan Xian’s shoulders.
Although the Crown Prince knew the Great Prince would not believe that Fan Xian was the culprit who assassinated the Emperor, he still had to say it. Any brotherly affection had to be built on the foundation of some reasonable logic.
The Great Prince’s expression darkened. The Emperor had five sons. If one discounted Fan Xian, who had grown up in Danzhou, and the Third Prince, who was the last to be born, he, the Crown Prince, and Second Prince had grown up together. Although the Crown Prince’s status was venerated, the affection between the three brothers was good. Before the Emperor showed favor to the Second Prince, the three prince’s relationship was far more worthy of being treasured than the bloody stories of conspiracy in the history books.
Everyone had thought it, but no one had dared to imagine that there would eventually be a day when these three brothers would meet with swords and soldiers.
The Second Prince, who had stayed silent since the Palace was surrounded, also opened his mouth. He gently kicked his horse with his shoe and allowed the horse to bring him within three meters of the rebel army. Gazing up at the Palace walls, he began to sincerely call up to the Great Prince following the Crown Prince’s words.
It had to be said that the Second Prince was quite adept at capturing people’s hearts. He didn’t bring up the matter of having the Great Prince surrender. He only talked about their past affections. Using a depressed tone, he narrated his discontentment of having the Great Prince help Fan Xian. He faintly raised the matter of the Qing Emperor’s attitude toward the Great Prince and that it was actually not how a father should be to his son.
Fan Xian glanced at the Great Prince and saw his expression was becoming darker and darker. He was not worried that the Great Prince would fall into the enemy’s side because of the pressure of the situation and the Crown Prince and Second Prince’s emotional attack. When he analyzed something, it always started with the person’s personality. He knew that the Great Prince’s personality was like a blazing fire.
He turned to look at the still yelling Second Prince and furrowed his brows slightly. He recognized the general beside him as Ye Zhong.
Thirty years ago, Ye Zhong had been the Commander of the Jingdou Garrison. Now, he was someone in his 50s. However, he didn’t look old at all or have the air of severity that other famous Qing generals had. His figure was slightly short and fat.
Fan Xian would not underestimate him. He knew that this person had long become a ninth-level ace. Ye Liuyun’s favorite nephew, and the man who had once fought against his terrifying mother, were both remarkable people. To be able to become the Commander of the Jingdou Garrison at 20 was not something the word “remarkable” could adequately covered.
Fan Xian’s brows furrowed tighter and tighter, but his eyes became brighter and brighter. They were like a star that refused to retreat despite the illumination of the rising sun.
The Great Prince suddenly called down the rebel soldiers below the palace walls in a loud voice, “Enough!”
The Second Prince gave a helpless smile and stopped talking.
The Great Prince said solemnly, “Look at the current situation, yet you still remember to frame Fan Xian! I know you can do whatever ugly thing it is for the sake of the throne, but don’t forget there are some things I cannot do! If you’re going to attack, then attack. There is no need to learn from those fishwives and be so chatty!”
These words were said resolutely and decisively with great vigor. It left absolutely no room for the Crown Prince and Second Prince to turn around in.
The Second Prince’s usually gentle expression immediately became dark. Becoming angry for some unknown reason, he roared toward the top of the Palace walls, “Brother! Don’t you forget that it is us who are brothers!”
“Brothers?” The Great Prince had been worried for days about the security of the Royal Palace, as well as making major plans with Fan Xian. His energies had been depleted. His eyes were deeply sunken. However, this made his gaze appear very sharp.
He looked at the Crown Prince and then at the Second Prince He suddenly said in a severe voice, “Brothers? You two aren’t even willing to be sons, much less brothers!”
Silence. These words had exposed too many things. The imperial soldiers on the Palace walls had long learned of this matter from the posthumous edict. Their eyes immediately filled with rage and pain. However, the expressions of the rebel soldiers below the palace walls became very strange. Although the Emperor had died on Dong Mountain, his imperial might remained. As soldiers in the Qing army, shouldering the Crown Prince’s standard was actually being part of the shady business of committing regicide to seize the throne. Who wouldn’t be fearful? Whose heart wouldn’t be drumming wildly?
The Great Prince stood between the crenels on the palace walls and furrowed his brows tightly. Looking at the Crown Prince, he sorrowfully said, “The Dong Mountain matter was done by the Eldest Princess. I know you don’t have this power, but you must have known of it! Even if father was going to depose you, you are still his son. How could you act so immorally?”
The Crown Prince’s expression was dim. He maintained his silence, allowing the Great Prince to criticize him angrily. At his side, the old Qin Master furrowed his brows and waved his hand. The rebel soldiers behind him began to make preparations for an attack. Gradually, the tooth-aching sound of bows being drawn could be heard from the rear.
While the three princes were energetically speaking of royal secrets above and below the Palace walls and being angry at each other, no one noticed that Fan Xian had left the wall. He followed the long stone steps into the interior of the Royal Palace and walked through the empty and expansive square toward Taiji Palace.
Along the way, Fan Xian looked around intently. Although the Great Prince specialized in battlefield operations on open fields, Fan Xian realized that he was also very knowledgeable about defending a city. Everywhere was prepared. Two towers had been taken apart near the entrance of the stone steps with rocks and heavy logs piled up. It looked like it was to deal with the attack about to happen.
Beside the three palace doors, there were some strangely shaped rocks prepared. There was even moss on them.
Fan Xian looked at it narrowed eyes and wondered if the rock gardens in the Palace had also been dismantled by the Great Prince. As he thought this, a group came toward him. Under the escort of a number of imperial soldiers, hundreds of exhausted-looking eunuchs were using a cart to push moss-covered rocks. It was indeed the Palace’s rock gardens.
The front side of the Royal Palace had three gates. Usually, only one was ever open. When the rebel army attacked, they didn’t just choose one place. Fan Xian knew that the Great Prince was going to use the rocks from the rock garden to block off these three gates. This work had probably started long before dawn.
Blocking the rebel soldiers outside the Palace and sealing themselves in the Palace was the so-called defending to the death. Fan Xian sighed and knew that the Great Prince had already firmly made up his mind.
All along the way, he saw very few imperial soldiers. Compared to the empty and vast Royal Palace, they seemed very sparse. There was truly little power.
Fan Xian sighed again. He knew that 1,000 imperial soldiers had been moved to the area of the Palace where the eunuchs and serving girls usually lived. It would suppress any disturbances and be the easiest place to break through.
Entering Taiji Palace, he saw the worried officials, the heavy-faced Lady Ning and Yi Guipin, and restless Third Prince. Fan Xian sighed for a third time in his heart. He bowed to the scholars Hu and Shu and pushed a smile onto his face as he said to the Third Prince, “Chengping, the battle is about to begin .Do you feel excited?”
The Third Prince was, after all, in a child. After learning that the Royal Palace was surrounded, he had begun to feel fearful. Although he forcefully suppressed the expression on his face, after hearing Fan Xian’s words, he couldn’t help but flatten his mouth. There was a glimmer of a smile at Fan Xian teasing amongst the fear. He appeared very funny.
Fan Xian turned and bowed to the pale-faced empress dowager opposite and then glanced at the disheveled empress. In low voice, he said, “I cordially invite Your Highnesses, the empress and empress dowager, up to the palace walls to watch the battle.”
The work of elucidating one’s righteousness and labeling oneself as the correct side was a necessary part of a rebellion. It had been completed amidst the Great Prince’s angry criticism and the Crown Prince and the Second Prince’s depression. The rebel soldiers below the palace walls had already come closer, particularly the thousands of archers in the rear of the army. They began to make preparations to fire together.
At this moment, there were only 1,000 imperial soldiers on the Palace wall. After this rain of arrows, they might lose a large number of them.
The Great Prince held a longsword in his hand and walked silently atop of the palace wall. Occasionally, he gave a signal, ordering the soldiers to be ready to meet the attack of the rebel army. This was the Qing Royal Palace’s first baptism by arrows. Who knew what bloody developments they would be able to stand against after this rain of arrows? They had not anticipated that they would have to guard the Royal Palace. Since they did not gain control of the city gate department, the Imperial Army’s defense was already disadvantaged in terms of battle strategy. They also did not have enough bows. They only had the support of the four city guarding crossbows atop the palace walls. However, there were tens of thousands in the rebel army. Using these four city guarding crossbows was the same as hitting a mosquito with a cannon. How many could be killed?”
“Get ready!” The Great Prince grasped the sword tightly in his hands and stared down at the mass of black below the palace walls. Endless sounds of bows being drawn reached his ears. Involuntarily, his heart also tightened.
Thousands of archers pulled on their bows at the same time. The fearful creaking sounds seemed to pierce into the ears of everyone in the Royal Palace, shaking through everyone’s thoughts.
The imperial soldiers on the walls were hidden behind the shields. The soldiers holding them also waited behind the Great Prince.
The battle could start at any moment. Everyone was waiting for the moment the skies to be filled with screaming arrows.
Fan Xian didn’t let any of this happen. He didn’t have the interest in appreciating the scene of an attack. He was such a pretentious prick that he would wait until the Imperial Army had suffered heavy losses before offering up either his remarkable or evil help.
On the stone steps, there came the sound of hurried footsteps. Following these footsteps was Fan Xian’s arrival, as well as a dozen old and puffing officials and a number of women being half escorted and half supported by the eunuchs.
These women were originally the most respected in the world. Now, they had become the lowliest and most humiliated.
Fan Xian held the Third Prince’s hand and stopped behind the Great Prince. He narrowed his eyes and looked at the waiting arrows of the rebel army and his heart gave an involuntary leap. He thought to himself, If this many arrows came their way, there was no way they could hold onto this Royal Palace. They only heard him activating his zhenqi and calling out in a loud voice toward the rebel soldiers below, “Chengqian, Second Prince, quickly stop what you are doing.”
The Crown Prince and Second Prince started at the call and raised their heads to look in the direction of the Royal Palace. Then, they saw a sight that made their hearts drum endlessly.
Seeing the women that suddenly appeared on the walls of the Royal Palace, the Crown Prince and Second Prince couldn’t help but cry out in shock. Even the old Qin Master and Ye Zhong couldn’t help but furrow their brows. They heard Fan Xian call down to them from beside the women.
“Don’t rush to attack yet. I’ve brought your mothers, grandmother, and brother to see you two…”
Hearing these words, many people felt the urge to throw up. No one would have thought that Fan Xian, who had the reputation of being an immortal poet and widely demonstrated the Overwatch Council’s power of darkness, would say such shameless things.
Only Fan Xian knew that after experiencing the life and death struggle in the meadow that his life had undergone a joyful change. He had walked away from the darkness that had accumulated over his two lives. He was gradually leaning closer to the past and becoming one with the young boy in Danzhou who yelled from the rooftop for the laundry to be taken in as the rain came down.
This kind of Fan Xian was a loveable Fan Xian, a suspicious Fan Xian, a shameless Fan Xian, and a scary Fan Xian.
No matter how shrewd the Crown Prince and Second Prince were, they couldn’t help but feel anger as they watched this heart-stopping scene. The Second Prince criticized him harshly in a severe voice, “Fan Xian! You’re so shameless!”
Fan Xian glared back and said, “You’ve only just realized?”
The Crown Prince was also incomparably angry in his heart.
At the first instance, he had urgently said to the old Qin Master at his side, “Don’t release the arrows!”
The old Qin Master furrowed his brows and thought, It was expected that Fan Xian would use these nobles in the Palace to threaten him, had the Crown Prince not thought of this problem? The old general sighed in his heart. The Crown Prince was kind-hearted, the timidity that had gradually disappeared these two years had finally appeared again.
For a soldier, at such a life and death moment, they shouldn’t be any hesitation at all. Taking no action against an evil for fear of harming innocents was nothing but timidity.
However, the old Qin Master did not understand that sometimes another name for timidity was humanity.
Without question, Fan Xian was not demonstrating any humanity at this moment. He had only accurately calculated the Crown Prince’s personality and was standing calmly and with a slight smile at the Great Prince’s side. “I just don’t want to be turned into a hedgehog.”
“Why did you bring Chengping here? He is only a child,” the Great Prince sighed and said with disapproval as he looked at the officials, empress dowager, empress, and Lady Shu beside him.
“As the future ruler of Qing Kingdom, he must see this scene at hand personally.” Fan Xian gently squeezed the Third Prince’s shaking hands. The Third Prince had been thoroughly scared at seeing so many rebel soldiers personally.
Fan Xian smiled at his trusted aides beside him and ordered, “Have Lady Shu stand in the left corner tower, have the Empress stand in the right corner tower, have…” He glanced at the pale-faced but unspeaking empress dowager and said, “Have the empress dowager stand by my side.”
“I am putting these three idols here. I want to see just how accurate their arrows are.”
Hearing these words, the people on the Palace walls felt a chill in their hearts.
After a moment of chaos, Fan Xian gazed at the people in the rebel army, who were fiercely arguing about something, and said, “Regardless of what compromise the Crown Prince and the old Qin Master reach, they will presumably be very unhappy with each other.”
The Great Prince sucked in a cold breath and looked at him. “You’ve even included this in your calculations?”
Fan Xian twisted his head to glance at the grave and stern Second Prince and the short iron tower-like Ye Zhong next to him. “There are still many things I am calculating.”
“If the person in charge today had been the Second Prince, the rain of arrows would probably have already arrived. Although the empress is not as likable as Lady Shu, her luck is much better than Lady Shu’s because her son is much better than hers.”
“Even if they aren’t releasing the arrows, the rebel army is still going to attack.” Fan Xian lowered his head slightly. “Go get ready. I want to think through a problem.”
The Great Prince glanced at him and ordered his subordinates to heavily protect the Third Prince. Then, he glanced at the unspeaking empress dowager and felt confusion in his heart. He couldn’t say anything, so he left.
Fan Xian let go of the Third Prince’s hand and picked up the empress dowager’s old and slightly rigid hand. He then walked a few steps to the left. It looked like a filial grandson supporting his grandmother. He allowed the yellow-phoenix robed empress dowager to appear on the palace walls. She was like a bright lantern hovering high in the sky, reflecting in the eyes of all the rebel soldiers.
The rebel archers unconsciously relaxed their bowstrings, although the order from above had not come down yet. However, their arms were beginning to grow sore. Furthermore, everyone had guessed who the old woman in the phoenix robe was: the Emperor’s mother, the Crown Prince’s grandmother, the only remaining senior of the Li royal family. She was a respected person. Even talking about them was blasphemy much less pointing an arrow at them. What if they accidentally hurt her? Who could shoulder such a result?
The people of Qing Kingdom were not willing to harm the empress dowager. Thus, when Fan Xian led the empress dowager up the Palace walls, the Great Prince felt a bit uncomfortable. After the scholars Shu and Hu could not stop him, they could only sigh. Those who knew the details of the revolt in the Palace last night knew that Fan Xian never shied away from using the evilest methods to defeat the most respected person.
The sword mark on the empress dowager’s neck was the most powerful evidence.
Fan Xian gently helped the empress dowager tidy the high collar of her phoenix robe and carefully plucked away a hair. In an even voice, he said, “Indeed, you only look imposing enough when you’re wearing formal clothing. At least the time I wasted earlier asking the nannies to help you dress was not in vain.”
The empress dowager suddenly turned her head. A boundless poison abruptly appeared in her old and tired eyes. It was as if she wanted to swallow Fan Xian.
Fan Xian didn’t even glance at her gaze. He said quietly beside her ear, “I know how painful it is to have things you cannot say. Swallowing this pill is also very painful. But if you think about it, the old Li family has received such retribution… This is me helping my mother punish you.”