Joy of Life - Chapter 582 - The Emperor’s Intentions[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:50:02]
Chapter 582: The Emperor’s Intentions
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
“How come you have time today to visit me in the Palace?”
The Emperor raised his head and glanced at Fan Xian with a smile. The warmth in his eyes carried a hint of teasing. It seemed that after a month, the Emperor’s emotions had calmed a great deal.
A glimmer of fear still rose in Fan Xian’s heart. He smiled awkwardly and had nothing to say. Although the Emperor had personally given him the month of break, not entering the Palace for an entire month and not seeing the Emperor was a bit inexcusable. He could clearly hear the Emperor’s displeasure He didn’t know how to handle it.
He had not come into the Palace because there was a chill and fear in his heart. Ever since he learned that the Emperor was a Great Grandmaster, the always fearless Fan Xian had finally understood what fear tasted like. The Emperor’s silence and tolerance had made him even more fearful and cautious. If it was possible, he would rather never enter the Palace again or see the Emperor’s face.
The gentler, the scarier. He swallowed to smooth his dry throat. He then sincerely spoke of the matter for which he had come into the Palace. He didn’t mention Crown Prince Li Chengqian’s name. He just talked about the matter at hand. He urged that when the Emperor dealt with the matter of the rebellion, he would be lenient outside the law.
Fan Xian thought to himself that the victor was always charitable. The Emperor had a number of his family die and was becoming more and more lenient. Furthermore, someone as confident and powerful as the Emperor would not worry about the problem of things reviving in the spring breeze.
Unexpectedly, the Emperor’s expression gradually darkened. It was as if he had not thought that on Fan Xian’s rare visit to the Palace, he would ask for such a thing. A thick chill flashed through his eyes. As Fan Xian stole a glance at the Emperor’s gaze, he silently thought it was all over.
Even if it was all over, he still had to forcefully support this opinion. Not only because Li Chengqian had entrusted this to him before his death, but it also concerned his courage. If something like this had not made him search for a trace of courage, he may never have entered the Palace again. He had to persevere.
Because of this perseverance, the royal study appeared particularly lively and terrifying. Eunuch Yao and the other young eunuchs, who stood guard outside the door, paled in fright at the angry roar that came out of the room. They didn’t know what Sir Fan junior had done to make the Emperor so angry.
Everyone listened outside the royal study anxiously and fearfully. There was the sound of a teacup shattering on the ground, and the sound of Sir Fan junior kowtowing, the Emperor scolding loudly, and the two people arguing.
Eunuch Yao’s expression did not change, but huge waves crashed in his heart. He quietly thought to himself that Sir Fan junior truly was fearless and daring to clash against the Emperor to his face. He couldn’t help but be worried about what would happen. He carefully stared at the door and wondered if he should quickly inform the two scholars of the Hall of Governmental Affairs. So many people had died in the Royal Palace, there were only a few people alive who had the authority to stop the fight between the Emperor and Duke of Danbo.
Before long, the two doors of the royal study squeaked as someone pushed them open. Fan Xian walked out quickly with an angry and upset expression. Without even glancing at the bowed head eunuchs outside, he shook out his sleeves and left the Royal Palace. Once he left the Palace and boarded his carriage, the anger and upset were immediately withdrawn. His expression was calm with just a bit of worry.
As expected, the Emperor had scolded Fan Xian severely. No ruler, even the ones that were known as the most charitable, had a sliver of sympathy for the enemies that conspired to steal the power of the world. This was something Fan Xian should have understood, so why did he still go through this fight?
After returning home for a few days, there was still no news from the Palace or any edicts or scolding. Fan Xian felt more and more uneasy. He thought to himself that the Emperor had probably guessed his intentions and was purposely pulling a dirty one on him. There was nothing he could do. He could only use his position as the Commissioner of the Overwatch Council and write a number of secret memorials to send endlessly into the Palace to try and provoke the Emperor again. These secret memorials went in like meat buns into a dog or like a clay Bodhisattva into the river, in without a single response.
After a few more days, the Palace’s final decision on how to punish the matter of the rebellion was finally decided. Fan Xian held the announcement in his hand in the manor and felt shocked and surprised. He would never have thought that after his argument with the Emperor in the royal study, the Emperor had actually listened to him. He had raised the butcher’s knife way up high but had let it fall gently.
The rebel officials who had been captured, as well as those who had not been released, about a thousand people, were sentenced to be beheaded. However, the women and children who had been implicated were all dealt with leniently.
Even with the last rebel army to surrender, the Emperor only chose the generals above a certain rank to be killed. The common soldiers were dispersed and sent to various borders areas to kill for their country as death row prisoners, with the intention of atoning for their crimes through service.
In the final calculation, about 2,000 people died because of the rebellion. This had far exceeded Fan Xian’s best estimate. Particularly those family members of the offending officials who should have been executed or exiled according to Qing law, most of them had their crimes lowered by one degree. This made his mood improve greatly.
Amidst his joy, he began to feel suspicious. Why had the Emperor done this? If it really was that his remonstrations had been effective, then why had he gotten so angry?
The clash between the Emperor and Sir Fan junior in the royal study had actually long shocked Jingdou. After all, there were a lot of people in the Palace, and people talked. Furthermore, this matter couldn’t be hidden from everyone so long before the Emperor made his public announcement. Most of the officials already had the inside information.
Although the officials each had their own camps and knew that if the Crown Prince came to the throne they would probably be hard put to escape death, everyone had been officials together in the same court for many years. There was always a sorrow for one of the same kind, particularly the innocent family and clansmen implicated in the matter. After they saw the Emperor’s lenient announcement, they all breathed a sigh of relief.
In particular, the two scholars of the Hall of Governmental Affairs had endless praise for this edict of the Emperor’s. They praised him from the bottom of their heart. A lenient and charitable ruler was the foundation for a kingdom to last all the ages. The disciples and grand-disciples of Zhuang Mohan believed this deeply.
Why was the Emperor so lenient and charitable? It was due to Sir Fan junior who , without regard to his personal reputation and power, had stood inside the royal study and admonished the Emperor to his face frankly. Although he wasn’t gambling with the lives of himself and his family, he still took a fairly large risk.
The Jingdou court thought of this matter and couldn’t help but see Fan Xian in a higher esteem. There was no doubt as to why he was Master Zhuang’s heir. He did things with a great sense of antiquity and tradition. Those people who were fortunate to escape death felt deeply grateful toward Fan Xian. For a time, his reputation once again rang out in Jingdou.
Previously, he had already been an idol in the hearts of the scholars in the world. However, his Overwatch Council identity, as well as the wariness of the Palace toward Prime Minister Lin, forced him to gradually pull away from the pure and honest. His reputation among the people had always been good. After the embellishment of this event, the officials felt great admiration toward him.
After all, clashing head-on with the Emperor was not something just anyone would do, particularly when it involved rebellion. Even the scholar Shu Wu had remained silent.
Fan Xian had not thought the matter would bring him so much good. He had originally wanted to repay Li Chengqian’s act of kindness and anger the Emperor to see if he could make the old man, who terrified him, express some kindness and allow him to leave.
Unexpectedly, the Emperor had actually seen through his intentions and had played him. He once again put Fan Xian onto a pedestal. Even if he wanted to quit, he wouldn’t be able to.
In his manor, Fan Xian watched his daughter with a heavy face. Compared to the Emperor, he was much too lazy. He still could not understand why the Emperor had given him so much glory with both hands. Thinking back and forth, he got annoyed. Slapping the table, he stood and said through gritted teeth, “I even dare to go into the Palace to see the Emperor, am I afraid of him?”
Fan Xiaohua’s eyes were tightly closed. She was not startled into tears by this loud sound. Wan’er and Sisi, to the side, jumped in fright. Not sure why he was so angry, they quickly took the child away.
When Fan Xian, Commissioner of the Overwatch Council returned to the Council for the first time after the rebellion in Jingdou, all of his subordinates bowed respectfully in welcome. The atmosphere was very serious. The countless events through these years had proved that everyone in the Overwatch Council had completely accepted this future Director. They were deeply awed by his actions in this matter.
Fan Xian sat in that dim room and used a wet towel to wipe his hands. He pulled open the black cloth to glance at the Royal Palace not far in the distance and shook his head. Chen Pingping was not present, but he could not immediately go to Chen Garden. Calling over the heads of the Eight Bureaus, he asked about the recent situation. He then had Yan Bingyun stay behind.
Hearing his question, Yan Bingyun shook his head and said, “There still has been no news from Sir Wang. As for Hong Changqing and that group, a few of them have straggled in. He has vanished. Gao Da and the seven Tiger Guards were probably all killed on Dong Mountain by Sigu Jian.”
Fan Xian’s brows furrowed. He felt very uncomfortable. Logically speaking, given how cunning this old man Wang Qinian was, how could he have disappeared without a trace on Dong Mountain? Even if the battle between the Great Grandmasters was horrifying, it should still have left a body. The Overwatch Council knew Wang Qinian was his first and foremost confidante, so they shouldn’t have missed him when looking. As for Hong Changqing and Gao Dad, he was not sure at all and thought they had probably gone on.
Thinking of this, his mood immediately became gloomy. Without wasting any more time in the Overwatch Council, he left and boarded the carriage. He headed straight out of Jingdou toward Chen Garden.
The traps that used to be buried in the meadow outside Chen Garden were gone. In the carriage, Fan Xian thought that when the Qin family sent the Jingdou Garrison here to clean out the residence, they must have swept it clean. When the carriage stopped outside Chen Garden and Fan Xian dismounted, he looked at the sight in front of him and involuntarily stopped.
This was not the beautiful and unique Chen Garden of the past. It was full of broken and ruined walls, dried ponds, shattered rock gardens, hanging poplars, and falling willows. The marks of burning and smoking were tragic.
Fire had burned down Chen Garden and left it in complete disorder. However, it no longer seemed desolate because a few brick structures had been built in the back as temporary lodgings. There were already thousands of people and artisans buzzing around the original land. It looked like a construction site in full swing.
Fan Xian walked unsteadily over the patch of construction and made it with great difficulty to the rear, where Chen Garden had been, to find Chen Pingping listening to an opera attended by a dozen beautiful women. The old dog was dressed like a major landlord, sitting on a low couch and enjoying everything with his eyes slightly closed. His legs were covered by a wool blanket. Although it was noisy outside, this temporary residence wasn’t very comfortable either. Looking at his expression, he seemed very happy.
The sound stones and bricks being cut outside was loud and completely quashed the sound of the opera inside. Fan Xian walked in and frowned. “How can anything be heard clearly? It’s not like you don’t have a manor in the capital. Why do you insist on staying here? It will take at least three months for Chen Garden to be completely repaired. Are you going to spend three months here?”
Seeing him walk in, Chen Pingping smiled. The lines on his face spread like a chrysanthemum flower. Each petal was filled with a strange aura.
Fan Xian felt uneasy with this smile and didn’t say anything. He sat down next to him and picked up a teacup to drink. The beautiful women stuck to Chen Pingping’s side knew that he had come because he had important matters to discuss, so they didn’t look at him with tender feelings like usual. They quieted down and dispersed.
The Overwatch Council probably gave instructions outside, so even the sound of repairs stopped. The entire wasteland of the rear of the Chen Garden sank into silence.
Chen Pingping glanced at him. Fan Xian moved over and used the teacup in his hand to feed him a mouthful. Chen Pingping wet his throat then said, “It is very inconvenient to live in Jingdou. It’s better to live in this broken garden.”
Living in Jingdou was inconvenient. This answered Fan Xian’s earlier purposely casual question, but there seemed to be some other meaning hidden within. Fan Xian immediately became somewhat unnatural. He knew that the old cripple knew he had come today with questions.
Without waiting for Fan Xian to speak, Chen Pingping spoke of his own accord, “As you know, I have countless beauties in this garden.”
Fan Xian nodded.
Chen Pingping coughed then continued. “I take in these women so they don’t need to serve other stupid men. It should be a joy, but presumably they are not very happy to be following me, an old man, every day. However, they refuse to show that in front of me.”
Fan Xian thought that, of course, it was this way. In the world, other than the Emperor, it was you who was the most ruthless. Even if these teenage Lolitas and mature women in their 20s were controlled by their hormones, they still wouldn’t have any resentment.
“In the previous dynasty, a serving girl held her resentment for so long that, in the end, she strangled the Emperor.” Chen Pingping rubbed his neck. “I don’t want to die like that, so I need to think of ways for these women to live more comfortably in the garden.”
Fan Xian’s mind twitched, faintly guessing what the old guy wanted to say.
“I am very relaxed with them. Even though they stare at you like a cucumber every time you come, I do not punish them.” Chen Pingping yawned. “Furthermore, what makes them the most unswerving is that if one day they do not wish to stay, I will chase her out.”
“Relaxed is the best way to maintain a garden,” Chen Pingping gazed at Fan Xian and said. “And, it is the best way to maintain peace in a family. That is why the Emperor has recently been so gentle.”
Fan Xian understood. Chen Pingping had probably also used this way to convince the Emperor.
“For them, I can let them out casually because there are too many unfortunate beauties in the world.” Cheng Pingping looked at Fan Xian and shook his head. “But the Emperor will not let you out because he only has these few sons. Furthermore, two just died.”
The old cripple extended two fingers and looked at Fan Xian mockingly. “Did you think that if you spoke for the Crown Prince and rebel officials that it would truly anger the Emperor and have him send you far, far away?”
“Don’t imaging things so perfectly. Who would be fooled by such a clumsy trick? The Emperor scolded you in the royal study not because he blamed you for asking for mercy for the guilty officials. Rather, he blamed you for wanting to escape at this juncture.”
Fan Xian sighed and felt even more afraid of the Emperor. How could he continue to say in Jingdou? Thinking of the matter, he lowered his voice and said with distress, “Since the Emperor saw through my intentions, why did he play that trick on me? Giving out all those benevolent edicts, doesn’t that all fall on me?”
“Benevolent edicts and reputation are both chains. This is the Emperor showing he doesn’t want you to go.” Chen Pingping coughed again. He then suddenly smiled, looking with great amusement at Fan Xian’s bitter melon like face. “Have you not thought about why the Emperor damaged himself so that he could fulfill your reputation?”
Fan Xian’s heart chilled as he thought of a possibility he had never considered. His entire body stiffened. He shivered as he sat on the side of the couch.
Seeing that he finally understood, Chen Pingping sighed. He looked through the glass of the temporary residence toward the construction site outside and slowly said, “He has finally understood after all these people died. At least it’s not a waste of my energy all these years.”
Fan Xian’s lip trembled as he abruptly rose. Looking at Chen Pingping, he said, “Then what about the Third Prince?”
“The Third Prince is still young.” Chen Pingping’s eyelids drooped slightly. “The Emperor will not choose a Crown Prince. It is just that if something happened and he passes too early, choosing you to inherit is, of course, the best choice right now.”
“My surname is Fan… I’ve worshiped the Fan family ancestors!” Fan Xian’s angry voice grew louder and louder.
Chen Pingping glanced outside and furrowed his brows. “Why are you being so loud? Matters of this world are not decided by who has the loudest voice. They’re decided by who has the strongest fist. The Emperor has the biggest fists. As for whether your surname will be Li or Fan in the future, it is just a matter of a sentence from him.”
Fan Xian sat down unsteadily. He had not thought that the Emperor’s recent gentleness and leniency had such a large matter behind it.
“Given the Emperor’s situation, this matter may need many years to happen. Perhaps, by that time, the Third Prince will have grown and the Emperor will like him more than you. Then, this matter will go with the wind. In any case, other than the Emperor, you and I, no one else knows.”
Chen Pingping thought of something. His mood became bleak. Looking at Fan Xian for a moment, he said, “You’ve haven’t entered the Palace in a month. It seems that you have an objection against the Emperor… Why are you hiding?”
Why he was hiding from the Emperor? Fear in his heart. Fan Xian faintly said, “I’m afraid.”
“Afraid of what?” Chen Pingping looked at him. “It’s already been four years. You’ve already proven to the Emperor your loyalty and obtained the very rare trust that you exchanged a number of near-death experiences for. You should be enjoying this kind of trust with righteousness and confidence.”
Fan Xian was silent. After he arrived in the capital from Danzhou, he had indeed almost lost his life a number of times. Regardless of whether it was the Hanging Temple, the valley, or Dong Mountain, the Emperor did not have any doubts about him. Just as the Emperor trusted Chen Pingping so much, it was because Chen Pingping had saved the Emperor’s live a number of times without regard for his own.
What kind of trust was the strongest? It was selfless sacrifice for the Emperor.
“Putting aside all other things, just with regards to the Emperor’s attitude toward you, it could be said that it is very good. Thinking about these years closely, the Emperor has shown you great favor. You should be grateful.”
Other things? Fan Xian heard these words but didn’t think deeper. Compared to the Crown Prince and Second Prince, Fan Xian knew the Emperor’s treatment of him was not as simple as making up for the regret of not seeing him for 16 years. Ever since ancient times, royal families had been heartless. Furthermore, he was only an illegitimate child. The Emperor had plenty of ways to learn about what happened in the past, yet he chose the path bests for Fan Xian.
“That is why I don’t understand what you are afraid of, why you won’t enter the Palace, or why you are doing your best to run away,” Chen Pingping looked at him and said.
Fan Xian smiled bitterly. No matter how much the Emperor trusted him and favored him, in the end, he was still a ruler. Not even considering the incident decades ago, his cold-blooded attitude, as well as powerful actions against members of the royal family, were enough to have him feel endless horror. Once the Emperor knew he had been keeping many things from him and even betraying him, he would firmly tear apart the affection between father and son, the righteousness between ruler and official, and use thunderous ways to deal with him.
After learning that the Emperor was a Great Grandmaster, Fan Xian had begun to worry about one thing. In the past, he had once sneaked into the Palace and stole a key from Hanguang Palace. If the Emperor had sensed this matter at that time yet had hidden it to now, what exactly was he thinking? The smuggling to Northern Qi did not matter. Taking on Thirteenth Wang did not matter because the confident Emperor did not care at all about these things. He didn’t suspect Fan Xian of betraying the country. However, he would not allow anyone to have that chest in their hands because the chest could threaten him.
Fan Xian was sure of this point, but he was unsure if the Emperor knew the chest was in his hands. There was a letter missing in the secret compartment below the bed in Hanguang Palace. Had the Emperor taken it? Thus, every time he entered the Palace, he did so with alarm and fear. He didn’t know when a pile of aces would appear and kill him. He worried that the Emperor would strike, using the realm of the Great Grandmaster to smack him into minced meat.
Presently, his royal favor was at its height. Fan Xian could clearly see the Emperor’s intentions, yet he was still worried and afraid. It was not because he was not the child who dared to say the Emperor was naked. It was because Uncle Wu Zhu had not returned.