Joy of Life - Chapter 566[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:49:56]
Chapter 566: A Tree Of Flowers, A Thousand Notes For The Qin, A Single Person
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Fan Xian stood in the doorway of the Taiping Courtyard and glanced sideways at the faint green inside. After he said those words, he said nothing more. The dozen Xinyan aces looked at him with faces full of astonishment. They didn’t know what had happened in Jingdou. How could this Overwatch Council Commissioner, who should have been trapped in the Royal Palace, suddenly appear in front of Taiping Courtyard’s door?
A gust of wind breezed through the bamboo woods and slowly removed some of the heat around everyone’s bodies. The Xinyang aces gave a low roar and charged toward Fan Xian, who furrowed his brows and retreated. His left arm seemed to twist and stretch out. His fist suddenly opened when extended to the extreme and, like an old flowering bulrush, he slapped it against the ace’s face.
Although it wasn’t a solid slap, it still caused the ace to lose half his teeth and blood flow freely. He fell to the ground and fainted.
Fan Xian rose to his toes. Tyrannical zhenqi surged out of his body as he shrunk. Like a faint shadow, he charged out of the circle. Looking at the people gnashing their teeth and charging toward him, his eyes became more bloodshot. His fists trembled slightly.
Just as Sir Yan junior had said when they first made the plan, present-day Jingdou was like an empty city to Fan Xian. The people who were the greatest threat to him had all been drawn by the Emperor to Dong Mountain. Regardless of whether they were aces from Northern Qi or the numbing ninth-level sword masters from Dongyi, they were all drawn to the jade-like mountain like magnets.
There were only three people who were of the ninth-rank in Jingdou. The old Qin Master had already died, and Ye Zhong was on his side. Fan Xian had the confidence that as long as he didn’t sink into the rebel army, who would be able to kill him?
However, he had no way of knowing where Wan’er and Da Bao were, so he didn’t dare to attack. Thus, he took another gamble and knocked on the door outside Taiping Courtyard. Perhaps it was somewhat arrogant, but it was actually a form of helplessness. When it came to the Eldest Princess’s tricks, the sinister and surly Fan Xian could only temporarily shed his tyrannical behavior and seek a different path.
The Xinyang aces did not know that Sir Fan junior was preparing to attack them verbally. In their shock, they attacked with all their strength. When they came face to face, someone became heavily injured. No one knew what kind of bloody battle would follow.
The aces charging toward Fan Xian abruptly stopped their steps. The bows and arrows extending out of the walls of Taiping Courtyard also raised the heads of their arrows. They were no longer aimed at Fan Xian. His eyes narrowed as he looked at the bows and arrows. Involuntarily, his heart felt cold. However, life was full of too many helpless things. If he wanted Wan’er and Da Bao to be safe, then he had to go around this tiger-infested mountain.
No one else stopped Fan Xian entering the courtyard. Countless eyes, whether in the open or in secret, watched his every move. If he made any unusual movements, probably only then would the killing truly start.
The elegant and faint sound of a guqin traveled throughout Taiping Courtyard. The sound was as flowing as water, cleansing and calming, making the listener feel at ease and comfortable.
Since the Eldest Princess had already used the sound of the guqin to give an order, then the aces across Taiping Courtyard would not obstruct his entry. There was boundless confusion in their hearts. Why was Her Highness allowing Fan Xian to go in? Did she not know how terrifying he was? Why didn’t she take advantage of his solo approach to kill him?
The dozen people slowly escorted, or watched, Fan Xian through Taiping Courtyard’s main gate. They then stopped in front of the second platform, which was prohibited land. Without the Eldest Princess’s personally command, no one was to enter.
Fan Xian stood in front of the wooden platform and looked at the wooden planks with his head down. There were gaps between them. He could see the clear river water below. At this part in Taiping Courtyard, the Liujing River was separated by a stone path from the upper island. It formed a puddle of slow-moving water. As flat as a lake, the surface of the water seemed to always be calm and unable to flow.
The quiet and even guqin sounds coming from the internal courtyard across from the platform entered his ears. He lowered his head to look at the flowing water and cocked his ear to hear the sound of the guqin. It was as if he wanted to determine the current mood of the person playing.
A moment later, he carefully tidied his clothes and stepped onto the bridge. He walked calmly to the island and pushed open the wooden doors to the internal courtyard. He raised his eyes to the woman gently stroking the strings on the guqin in the pavilion in the center of the lake. Wrapping his hand around his fist, he lifted it and bowed respectfully, “Greetings, Your Highness.”
There was not the slightest pause from the guqin because of this abrupt greeting. The slender and pale hands moved across the instrument just as calmly as before.
Li Yunrui had her head down and seemed to be putting all her attention on the seven strings of the guqin. Only her wrists were slightly weighted. Her fingertip slid to the right. Compared to the faint music earlier, it appeared more restrained and elegant.
An autumn wind blew across the little lake, creating ripples in the water. The green rocks by the lake and low hill were reflected beautifully in the water. The pavilion was on a hill. The person and guqin were not in the pavilion. Instead, they were among the flowers and trees. On the trees, the stamens were light and powdery. The autumn wind blew across the clear water and stroked across the tip of the flowering branches. The water moved. The petals fell like rain, landing on the Eldest Princess’ wide-sleeved clothing like they were adorned with a slightly darker flower shadow.
Fan Xian calmly watched that spot and saw Li Yunrui’s calm and quiet appearance, which still could not hide her charm. The Eldest Princess had not put on thick makeup. She had only lightly outlined the tips of her curving brows, yet her natural aura filled the courtyard. A head full of beautiful and long black hair was spread out behind her shoulders, tied back with a silk scarf. It looked beautiful and relaxed.
She played the guqin with her head down. Her eyelids were slightly lowered. Her long eyelashes gently lay on her jade-like skin. It made Fan Xian involuntarily think of the eyes his wife had inherited from her.
If one did not think about who she was or her age, then any man would have to acknowledge this woman’s charm.
Fan Xian followed stones on the bank of the lake and walked over. Narrowing his eyes slightly at the music, he suddenly said, “Yan Xiaoyi is dead.”
The guqin continued to buzz lowly and occasionally jumped. It made a few trembling sounds, indicating that she already knew of this matter and there was no need to speak more about it.
“Qin Heng has died.” Fan Xian stared at her hands and said quietly.
Two fingers on Li Yunrui’s right hand slid past the fourth string and pressed down twice. The guqin below her fingers made a leisurely sound.
Fan Xian didn’t hesitate at all. Forging ahead in a plain but forceful tone, he said “Qin Ye has also died.
Li Yunrui still did not raise her head. However, the speed at which the seven strings moved became slower and slower, gradually becoming a sorrowful sound. The guqin was elegant. It had sorrow but no pain. A faint sense of yearning was plainly visible. One could grasp the Eldest Princess’ emotions through the faint trembling of her wide sleeves behind her hands.
Suddenly, the sound of the instrument reverberated again. The tips of her fingers flicked quickly, but the range of sounds were still constrained to one region. The speed gave the piece, which should have been filled with vicious currents, a completely different sense of slowness. It pledged a sense of pureness.
Only someone filled with confidence could play the correct sound.
Fan Xian had already walked into the trees and flowers to her side. He lowered his head and looked at the strings that rose and felt like waves. Suddenly, he said, “Everyone says that I am a genius, but I actually know nothing about musical theory. For me, the thoughts you are putting into this is probably like that saying of playing guqin to a cow.”
Li Yunrui probably had heard that phrase, but her head remained lowered as she stroked over the strings, intoxicated and with no ties to her heart. No one knew which soul mate she was playing this piece to. It was only a coincidence that Fan Xian had come to Taiping at this time.
Fan Xian had thick skin and never knew what shyness was. Seeing that she was ignoring him, he smiled self-mockingly and plunked himself down next to her. Then, he turned to her profile and said, very naturally, “Ye Zhong defected.”
Abruptly, a chaotic buzzing sound came from the guqin, spiraling across the lake, hills, and flowers. The string on the guqin struggled for a moment, then three of them snapped.
The Eldest Princess slowly raised her head and looked into Fan Xian’s eyes. In only an instant, she had recovered her calm. “Every time I see you, it seems that I never hear any good news.”
Through these few years, the Eldest Princess and Fan Xian had each stood on their own sides, competed and clashed endlessly. The struggle between them linked together the major events these years in Qing court. It was quite remarkable that Fan Xian and her had not met many times. This pair had each become the other’s greatest enemy, yet they were not very familiar with each other.
“If you wish to hear good news, my head should follow behind the good news,” Fan Xian said quietly. His gaze casually scanned his surroundings. Unfortunately, he didn’t make any discoveries, so his gaze dimmed for an instant.
The Eldest Princess’s hands were gently resting on the guqin with the broken strings. Both her eyes were slightly closed. Her already pale skin seemed even paler, like it was going to become translucent. The usually alluring red blush was nowhere to be found.
She had indeed not expected Fan Xian’s sudden appearance at Taiping Courtyard. Fan Xian had moved too quickly. The people she had left in the rebel army didn’t have time to report on the situation in Jingdou yet. However, she already faintly felt that there was a problem. She had not taken action against him at the first instance. Instead, she had let him come in to see how the second half of the story would happen.
Furthermore, she held Fan Xian’s life in her hands. She did not care about what remarkable powers her son-in-law had.
Fan Xian’s four truths, one after another, had caused the Eldest Princess’s heart to finally loosen. Although she had already guessed Yan Xiaoyi’s death after Fan Xian appeared in Jingdou, her heart still dimmed involuntarily as she heard the confirmation from one who was there. After all, this Governor had long been her trusted confidant, promoted by her hand and absolutely loyal to her.
Qin Heng and Qin Ye’s death made the Eldest Princess slightly fearful. She had not thought that the situation in Jingdou would become like this. Fan Xian’s last sentence made clear all the answers and had finally made her angry.
She was only angry for a moment before she became calm again. Opening her eyes, she pouted as she expelled her breath and was somewhat mournful. “However, you still have to come beg me.”
“Since I am here, you can guess what has happened in Jingdou.” Fan Xian lowered his head slightly. He and the Eldest Princess both knew the reason he dared to come alone into the courtyard and the reason she had let him in was because they each held the other’s life in their hands. Neither of them wanted to end all of the possibilities in the first instance.
The Eldest Princess had Wan’er and Da Bao. Fan Xian had obtained an irreversible advantage in Jingdou.
Li Yunrui suddenly lowered her head. Her wide sleeves hid the broken guqin. Her light-colored clothing at her shoulders trembled with her movements. She appeared pitiful.
“I have come to ask you,” Fan Xian sincerely said, “to let go.”
Li Yunrui heard his words and suddenly raised her head. She stared at Fan Xian with an apathetic look and didn’t speak. Although her eyes were apathetic, Fan Xian could see a marrow-deep resentment in them. This resentment was clearly not aimed at him. Instead, it went through him and pierced those who were not present.
“Let go? What right do you have to say those two words to me?” Li Yunrui laughed mockingly and lifted a light petal from her shoulder. “Ye Zhong’s betrayal… That is indeed beyond my expectations. However, since you have come, what do I need to worry about? Perhaps many people fear your martial ability, brains, and the Overwatch Council, only I have never worried about your existence from the beginning.”
Fan Xian remained silent.
“Everyone thinks that you are ruthless and vicious under your bright exterior.” The Eldest Princess looked at him mockingly. “I have to admit, you’ve faked it quite well these years in the Overwatch Council. Everyone thinks that in the face of great personal interest, you would become someone who wouldn’t acknowledge those closest to you. However, I know you have never been that way.”
“That is why you have Wan’er and Da Bao.” Fan Xian cut across her words.
“Two years ago, I had said that you appeared powerful but actually could not stand up to a single strike,” Li Yunrui slowly said. “You care about too many people in this world. You have weaknesses all over your body. I can grab any one of them, and you would be unable to turn over. Otherwise, why would you not be in Jingdou right now? Why would you sneak your way here?”
Fan Xian lowered his head and said faintly, “I have to admit that you are very good at reading people. I care about too many people. This has caused great inconvenience when I am doing things.”
“Take Wan’er, for example. You can use your own daughter’s life to threaten your son-in-law, but I could not do this. On the contrary, I am willing to sacrifice my own life for Wan’er’s life. I have been tortured by this every night these 10 days. in the end, I have to admit this.”
Hearing these words, a faint light rose below the Eldest Princess’ slightly hooded eyes.
Fan Xian flatly watched the smooth surface of the lake and the petals moving slowly with the ripples. Calmly, he said, “But, being willing to sacrifice my life and being threatened by someone else are two different things. If Wan’er was sick and needed my head to cure her, perhaps I would cut it off. If my death does not do anything for Wan’er’s safety, why would I do such a thing?”
He turned his head to look at her and said, “I am here today to let you know that threatening me won’t do anything. Of course, we could chat about what kind of good conclusion this matter could have.”
“I care about many people, I am full of weaknesses.” Before the Eldest Princess opened her mouth, Fan Xian blocked up the last opening. “But because there are many weaknesses, they are no longer weaknesses. I cannot turn back and attack because of Wan’er. Otherwise, what about my father? What about my brothers the Great Prince and Third Prince? They are all family. No one is more important than another. Presumably, Wan’er would agree with my perspective and actions.”
The Eldest Princess couldn’t help but smile slightly and shake her head. Fan Xian’s words had already blocked all her threats. Although she could try, her thoughts had long floated to another place. Faintly, she sighed and said, “Your eldest brother and third brother, looks like you have finally acknowledged your identity. The men of the Li family are always so hypocritical and shameless. You’ve said a lot, but what benefit was it to the situation? It was for no other reason than to force me to rise in revolt then you could comfort yourself with the fact that Lin’er and Da Bao’s death had nothing to do with you. You had no other choice. For the greater good, you could only stand aside and watch. The one devoid of a conscience would be me. The person who would be sad afterward and receive the comfort of thousands would be you.”
She gazed at Fan Xian’s face and smiled slightly. “Do you not think you are very shameless?” She paused then laughed self-mockingly. “You are very similar to your father in this.”
The father she spoke of referred to the Emperor. Fan Xian was silent for a moment and then said, “To have the intention to do evil yet hide it is to be shameless. I have been forced to the end of my choices by you. In the depths of my heart, I don’t want any harm to come to Wan’er.”
The two people’s negotiations sank into a stalemate. Fan Xian could easily kill the Eldest Princess at any moment. However, he had yet to see a trace of Wan’er and Da Bao. They were probably being watched by Xinyang aces in some corner. If Fan Xian acted, the first to die would probably be Wan’er.
Fan Xian’s face was calm, but he began to worry in the depths of his heart. Faced with such a hopeless woman, he was unable to give her anything she wanted. What could he do next?
The Eldest Princess’ expression becomes serious, completely at odds with her pretty appearance and light makeup. She stared in a daze at the surface of the lake and said, “Earlier, I said that the men of the old Li family were shameless. This is not wrong. Last time in Xinyang Palace, the Emperor did not kill me because he wanted to give a chance. The action soothed his heart. He could have killed me justifiably and wouldn’t have had to worry about how the history books would describe this portion of history.”
She looked at Fan Xian. “He had never truly cared for me as a sister. Since he had so confidently given me this opportunity, I had to return him a great surprise.”
In Fan Xian’s eyes, the Emperor’s worship of heaven at Dong Mountain was taking a huge risk and completely underestimated the Eldest Princess’s capabilities. To be able to invite out the Great Grandmasters of two foreign countries and move the rebel troops into surrounding the capital required powerful persuasive powers and organizational powers. It was truly difficult to imagine that a weak woman had shouldered such a massive plan.
Ye Zhong’s strike had allowed Fan Xian to understand one thing. The Eldest Princess had laid down a large plan. However, the Emperor had laid down an even larger plan. The only people who could completely destroy the Eldest Princess were her elder brother and old cripple.
“An Zhi, I want to ask you a question.” The Eldest Princess suddenly said. “In the past, I have tried to repair our relationship. Why have you always pulled your hand back?”
Before Fan Xian answered, Li Yunrui faintly said ahead of him, “Don’t say it is because I have once tried to kill you, and don’t say it’s because you’ve had trusted confidants die by my hands. You and I both know what kind of person you are. Perhaps you have feelings and loyalty toward your family and friends, but it doesn’t mean that you’re truly a warm-blooded man.”
Fan Xian was silent for a moment and then said, “It is very simple, you wouldn’t back down, and the Emperor would not accept you and I becoming close.” In reality, he did not wish to speak with the Eldest Princess about the past. In order to deal with her having a stranglehold on his lifeline, he could only pretend to compromise.
The Eldest Princess did not seem to be vacantly thinking about the past because her major plan had failed. Fan Xian’s heart jumped. He stared at the Eldest Princess’ eyes, only to see her lower her head slightly. “Don’t misunderstand. I have no desire to once again join hands. Regardless of whether the Emperor is dead or alive, I no longer have much interest in this world.”
Fan Xian suddenly realized that her expression was very melancholy.
“My brother was indeed the most powerful person in the world.” Li Yunrui suddenly smiled slightly and said. “I made a big mistake. I thought he only wanted to use the heaven worship at Dong Mountain to draw out an attack from Uncle Liuyun. I didn’t think that he would have such powerful ambitions. It looks like these dozen years of subdued endurance made him unable to tolerate loneliness.”
Given the her planning ability, she had guessed the truth of Dong Mountain in the shortest possible time and Emperor’s intention. She understood why there hadn’t been any news from Dongsheng Road after five days.
“Don’t think that a lack of news from Dongsheng Road means that the Emperor is still alive.” The Eldest Princess slightly closed her eyes. “That old cripple could also accomplish this. The situation on Dong Mountain is probably not what you’re hoping.”
“Since Ye Zhong took action, naturally, Grandmaster Liuyun would also take action.” Fan Xian lowered his head and said.
An expression of complete understanding rose to the Eldest Princess face. She lightly said, “Although Sigu Jian and Ku He believed that Ye Liuyun was my man, how could those two strange creatures so easily trust a Qing person?”
Li Yunrui’s eyes narrowed. There was no sense of coldness or murder in them. There was only indifference and aloofness. “You and the Emperor both seem to have misunderstood one thing. I am, after all, a Qing person. My entire life has been spent in helping the Emperor unify the world. How could I not include Qing Kingdom’s future danger in my calculations before I went?”
“I have never underestimated by brother. I believed that even at the very end, he would still have a remarkable trick to turn the tables. I had not thought that this remarkable trick would be Uncle Liuyun.”
“I never intended for Ku He and Sigu Jian to return alive. Four Great Grandmasters met at Dong Mountain. Even if Uncle Liuyun attacked, it would still be a two on two. What kind of people are Ku He and Sigu Jian? If the Emperor wanted to kill the two Great Grandmasters, his thinking was a bit too simple.”
“I trust my brother, which is why I believe that even if he died, he would drag the two Great Grandmasters down with him. Otherwise, how could he be worthy of his wisdom and power?” the Eldest Princess said indifferently. “At that time, Qing Kingdom would have Uncle Liuyun, while Northern Qi and Dongyi would have no one to protect them. What difference is there to the development of the situation presently? If Uncle Liuyun attacks, all four of the Great Grandmasters would die. There is little difference to what I was thinking.”
She continued speaking. “Strange creatures like the Great Grandmasters should not even exist in this world. If there were not Great Grandmasters in the world, given Qing Kingdom’s national and military strength, we would have united the world long ago, what need would there be to wait until today?”
“Regardless of what happened on Dong Mountain, it would all be of benefit to the Qing Kingdom,” she said. “Once they all died, do you think that the Emperor would be so fortunate as to survive such a momentum?”
Not allowing Fan Xian to open his mouth, the Eldest Princess coldly threw out each line, making his mouth go dry. Not knowing what to say, he had no idea that the Eldest Princess had not wanted, from the beginning, for the Great Grandmasters on Dong Mountain to survive. She was not an immortal, after all, and could not account for every detail. However, the development of the present situation seemed to not be far off from her estimation.
The only change had, on the contrary, happened in Jingdou. It had been him leaving Dong Mountain alive and in Ye Zhong’s strike.
“If the four old men and the Emperor all died, do you think I care about who sits on the dragon chair? Although I am disappointed that you control Jingdou and Chengqian will not be able to take the throne, what do these little setbacks matter?” The Eldest Princess glanced at Fan Xian. “Of the Emperor’s five children, other than the Third Prince, who is still young, any of the other four, even the most useless Second Prince, would still be able to lead Qing Kingdom in conquering this world.”
“Having the four Great Grandmasters accompany him to the grave,” a proud and maniacal light rose to the Eldest Princess’ face, “presumably he would be very pleased to have four such guards in the afterlife. And, I’ll also give his son the world. I owe him nothing.”
“What about you?” Fan Xian asked with a raspy voice. It was only now that he truly understood why his father and Chen Pingping always told him this woman was crazy. After making so much trouble, she didn’t even care who could survive in the major battle in Jingdou and sit on the dragon chair. They were all children of the Li family, all children of the Emperor.
“Me?” The Eldest Princess looked at her son-in-law like she was looking at an idiot. “Who would you rather be, the uneven path on the ground or a brilliant falling star under the heavens? In life, one only has to emit the light that belongs to them. There is no need to fear people’s words or dread the history books. For someone like the Emperor, who likes to have face, he’ll always need me to help him.”
Although he had single-handedly forced the Eldest Princess and Emperor’s final break, Fan Xian still couldn’t resist asking in a raspy voice, “Why did you have to do this?”
He asked it quietly, but the Eldest Princess heard it clearly. Looking at the secluded and simple scenery of the Taiping Courtyard, she slowly said, “Because he turned his back on me. I wanted to prove to everyone that a woman could also change the history that stupid men have dominated for years.”
She slowly rose. Her hair fell down from her body. She looked very beautiful.
Fan Xian listened to these words in a daze, particularly the last line. He had once heard it in Xinyang Palace. It appeared particularly piercing and shocking.
Li Yunrui looked at the scenery in Taiping Courtyard greedily and said in a low and reluctant voice, “When I was little, I loved this courtyard. Brother would never let me come. Later, I asked my father for it and was heavily scolded by brother. At that time, the mistress of this courtyard was dominating.”
She smiled slightly and turned around, causing the flowers nearby to tremble. A dozen petals fell down. She looked at Fan Xian and said in a charming voice, “Tell me, have I finally surpassed your mother?”
Fan Xian had sunk into a strange emotion. Abruptly hearing these words, he had no idea how to answer and could only smile awkwardly.
The Eldest Princess stretched out her bare foot and stepped onto the green grass, slowly dancing. She carried with her a slow and relaxed mood.
For some reason, Fan Xian felt an incomparable anger as he looked at this scene. Yes, you have all stood higher than others and saw further than others. Regardless of whether it was the Emperor or Li Yunrui, from the very beginning, their sights had not been in Jingdou but focused on Dong Mountain and the four Great Grandmasters who should not have existed in this world.
How many people died? How many tragic stories of broken families are there in Jingdou? How many Qing Kingdom soldiers had lost their heads and lives because of your intention to leave your name in history? How many people have cried in pain? How many people have sorrowed?
“You’re not as good as her,” Fan Xian suddenly said.
The Eldest Princess’s bare feet abruptly stopped on the grass. She turned her head and looked at Fan Xian with a cold gaze, as if waiting for him to give an explanation.
Fan Xian raised his brows and remained sitting on the ground. Mockingly, he said, “When my mother came to this world, at least she managed to make the Qing people smile. You could only make them cry.”
Li Yunrui smiled faintly, revealing a mocking expression. She was completely unmoved.
Fan Xian’s next words made her angry. He shook his head and said in a tone that was inevitable and right, “I have seen paintings of my mother. I have to say, she is prettier than you.”
Fan Xian laughed. “Everyone loves Ye Qingmei, is that not so?”
He stood and dusted the grass from his bottom, not looking at Li Yunrui’s expression. He now knew that the Eldest Princess had intended to die from the very beginning for her plotting and only wished for a final glory before going to the afterlife to seek her brother. Fan Xian began to feel tired. He only wanted to provoke her and create some change to find a way to rescue Wan’er and Da Bao.
Of course, there was still a massive question surrounding his heart.
Could the Emperor actually survive the shaking of heaven and earth in the Great Grandmasters battle?