Joy of Life - Chapter 639 - Taking The Courtyard, Seizing Power[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:50:24]
Chapter 639: Taking The Courtyard, Seizing Power
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The large bed in the rear residence of Fan manor was just as soft as it always has been. His son and daughter, who were usually treated like little lords, were sleeping peacefully under the nannies’ care. No one would disturb the people in the master bedroom. Fan Xian was very sleepy. After talking a little with Wan’er, he sank into dreams with his feet still soaking in the hot water. Lin Wan’er sighed and pulled on a thin robe as she got up to deal with the aftermath.
Jingdou in the darkness was completely silent. Most people had already entered the sweet darkness of slumber. Only the unusually diligent Emperor was still annotating the memorials sent by the seven Roads. Although the memorials had already been read twice by the Hall of Governmental Affairs, the Emperor was used to examining all the details of the world. Thus, his workload was immense.
The light in the royal study did not tremble but the door began to shake. Eunuch Yao led a plain-looking eunuch straight into the royal study without announcement.
The Emperor raised his head to glance at the two of them and furrowed his brows. “Find anything?”
Old Eunuch Hong died on Dong Mountain. Eunuch Hou died during the break-in into the palace in the Jingdou rebellion All of the internal court eunuchs were managed single-handedly by Eunuch Yao. Although the power of the internal court was not much, it would not be underestimated due to its special position. Other than the defense within the palace, the most important responsibility of this department was that it was the bridge through which the Emperor secretly controlled the Overwatch Council. This was the Ministry of Internal Affairs that caused the officials of the Overwatch Council so much headache back.
The existence of Chen Pingping made the spies the internal court placed into the Overwatch Council appear rather humble. They did not play much of a role. The Emperor later had the Imperial Censorate begin to contest against the Overwatch Council. Many people began to forget that the internal court had such a function.
Eunuch Yao didn’t say anything. He accepted two files from the hands of the plain-looking eunuch and placed it on the table in front of the Emperor. The files were thin. There was not much content inside. The Emperor lightly swept his eyes over it. His expression changed slightly before immediately returning to its usual appearance.
This slight change made Eunuch Yao’s heart drop into icy snow. The Emperor’s expression had not changed even before the incident on Dong Mountain. Under the attack of two Great Grandmasters, he still smiled faintly without fear. However, he was emotionally moved by these thin pieces of paper. One could guess that the content inside had a powerful effect on the Emperor’s state of mind.
The contents on the paper had nothing to do with the assassination in Hanging Temple. Even if it were related, it would only be the later portion. What the internal court had been investigating these two years was the whereabouts of the city-guarding crossbows the second workshop of the palace treasury had produced.
Those crossbows in the valley on the outskirts of Jingdou almost made Fan Xian meet a tragic end. Later, the Emperor and Fan Xian found that the attack had been ordered by the Qin family. But, these city-guarding crossbows had been given military numbers using the Dingzhou military.
The Emperor drew his gaze back from the table and was silent for a long time. It seemed that he also did not understand the matter. The day Fan Xian had almost been assassinated on the outskirts, he had felt rage as a ruler and a father. But, nothing specific could be found through a number of investigations, until now. Under the internal court’s tireless efforts, he found that behind this matter, there was a shadow sitting in a wheelchair.
The Emperor was stunned and did not understand. Even such a person as he still could not understand why that old dog would do something like that.
It was clear An Zhi did not know of the matter. Otherwise, he would not have made so many detours to help scheme a glorious and comfortable retreat for that old dog. The Emperor rubbed the spot between his eyes that felt rather tight. He then gently coughed a few times. Picking up the other file, he glanced at it a few times then asked, “The Northern Qi person also went to Dongyi?”
“Yes,” the plain-looking internal court investigator replied respectfully. “The Duke of Danbo seized the Northern Qi Emperor and took him into the Sword Hut. Afterward, they met privately by the seaside. We could not find out what they talked about.”
Fan Xian had not reported this matter to the Emperor. The Emperor looked at the records of Fan Xian’s every moment in Dongyi. His face darkened slightly. A moment later, he asked, “What else?”
“The knife that appeared in Qingzhou was indeed one the second workshop of the palace treasury produced. The model has not been distributed to the military, so it could not have come from them,” the plain-looking eunuch continued. “Three such swords appeared. In the end, we only obtained one. As per your orders, we delivered the sword to Sir Fan junior as a reminder.”
“Looking at what happened later, it should be the person on the grasslands who stole the other two knives. It looks like they are helping Duke Danbo hide something.”
“We’ve long kept an eye on Xia Mingji and the second young master of the Fan family’s illegal trading. It’s all daily life products, so these knives should not be coming from that channel.”
Although Eunuch Yao was the head eunuch of the internal court in name, in reality, the external investigations of the internal court were directly responsible to the Emperor. Thus, this was also his first time hearing about this seemingly unclear information that made on tremble with fear. His face was slightly pale. He knew if the Emperor truly believed the report of the internal court’s investigation, Sir Fan junior would probably be met with great misfortune and the old man sitting in the wheelchair would also not have many good days left.
Out of Eunuch Yao’s expectations, the Emperor began to laugh coldly. “With a mere three knives, they want to create distance between the Qing ruler and his subject? To put distance between myself and An Zhi’s father and son relationship?”
With these words, Eunuch Yao and the plain-looking eunuch secretly met each other’s eye. Each saw the fear in the other’s heart. Everyone under heaven knew that Sir Fan junior was the Emperor’s illegitimate child, but no one would say this in front of the Emperor. Now, the Emperor made this matter explicit in front of the two of them.
“That kid in Shangjing is even more amusing,” the Emperor smiled slightly, “making use of An Zhi’s tiny bit of benevolence to think of such a thing.”
The eunuch swallowed and carefully said, “Your Majesty, should the investigation continue?”
“Continue investigating the attack in the valley. You can also investigate the Hanging Temple incidence,” the Emperor said as he closed his eyes tiredly. “There is no need to investigate An Zhi. In the future, if any investigation reaches him, let go.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
The Emperor closed his eyes and was silent for a long time. He didn’t understand what role Chen Pingping had played without his knowledge. Suddenly, his heart tightened. He thought that perhaps Fan Xian, his son, knew about the role that Chen Pingping played, which was why he was so anxious to move courtyards and seize power.
He trusted in Fan Xian’s loyalty. Just as everyone else thought, in terms of interest, virtue, and nature, Fan Xian had no reason to betray him. The Emperor had confidence in this. Even if one day his son learned of what happened many years ago, at most, he would demonstrate a sorrowful anger and would not betray this country.
The next day, Jingdou rained and rained. In a black raincoat, Fan Xian walked in the rain. Behind him were three members of the Qinian Unit and a group of Sixth Bureau swordsmen for protection. Silently, they entered a small alley. After exiting it, they rounded outward and saw a small manor door.
Every time he came to Yan manor, it seemed to be raining. Perhaps the heavens also knew that the father and son who lived in this manor were among the most powerful infernal walkers in the world, maintaining a distance from the secular society between the darkness and the light. He sympathized with them.
The Qing Chengzi manor was still the Qing Chengzi manor. So many years had passed, yet the Yan manor was still subdued. Neither the Emperor’s rewards nor the favoritism of the court showed on the surface.
Outside the door, Fan Xian took off his soaked raincoat and, without waiting for be announced, he walked straight to the rear courtyard. Before long, he saw the large fake mountain that blocked the view of the rear courtyard.
When he first entered the Yan manor, Fan Xian had noticed the fake mountain. Although there was a routine of covering the door and hiding the building, this fake mountain appeared too big, too fake, too abrupt, and too ugly.
It was a holiday. The usually busy Sir Yan junior had a stole a rare half-day of leisure and was playing Chinese checkers with his wife. He and the young lady of the Shen family had been married for a while now ,but Lady Shen’s stomach remained quiet. Yan Bingyun was not in a rush. The entire Yan manor was not in a rush.
Seeing Fan Xian’s arrival, a clear flash of surprise appeared on Yan Bingyun’s face. He knew Fan Xian had returned to the capital. Given the Commissioner’s laziness, he thought he would either be lazing around at home or drinking with the Great Prince in his manor. He had not thought Fan Xian would come to his home.
When Sir Yan was young, and later when he went in disguise to Shangjing, he was a famous talent in both places. He was well-learned in music, chess, calligraphy, and art. In front of Fan Xian, he did not like to show off any of his talents and humor. He was like a block of ice, strictly upholding the difference between superior and subordinate, and was very boring. Thus, Fan Xian usually didn’t like to carry out recreational activities outside of work. Each time Fan Xian entered the Yan manor, something big was going to happen in the Overwatch Council.
“You’re in good spirits today,” Fan Xian said with a smile.
Lady Shen bowed superficially to her husband’s superior and retreated to the rear residence. The daughter of Shen Zhong still had the status of a Northern Qi female escapee. A few years ago, she had lived for a long time in the Fan manor and got along well with the woman in the manor. In front of Fan Xian, she always felt slightly complicated. She did know how to interact with him.
Although no one had clearly said anything, Lady Shen knew her father’s death and the destruction of her clan was not only because the Northern Qi royal family allowed it and Shang Shanhu’s killing intent. It had a strong connection to this young leader of the Qing Overwatch Council.
Looking at the faint figure of the woman entering the room, Fan Xian’s mood fell. He suddenly said, “How is the thing we talked about last time going? If you want, I can have her leave behind her status as a Northern Qi escapee.”
Yan Bingyun rose and stood in the corridor, watching the rain and thinking. A moment later, he coldly said, “Don’t think that no one knows about your collusion with Northern Qi. It didn’t matter before, but what is the situation now? Once the war starts, what you’re doing will be giving resources to the enemy. Instead of quickly washing your hands of it, you want to use this connection to obtain some advantages. Don’t think that no one will suspect you of betraying the country because of your special status.”
“Bullsh*t betrayal,” Fan Xian cursed with a smile. “Am I not also anxiously making money? Besides, I don’t even spend most of the money. You’ve seen the money I’ve sent in the past to the Hangzhou Conference and the river works yamen.”
“I don’t understand. This silver is going to the court anyway, why make a detour in the middle? Most importantly, avoiding the tax in the middle means the court gets even more silver.”
“One less process means one less negative experience of being skinned by the officialdom,” Fan Xian said. “Furthermore, I like controlling these things myself.”
“The Palace certainly knows about these things. The Emperor is just not saying anything. You know why that is. Don’t get too overboard,” Yan Bingyun couldn’t resist reminding him.
“The Eldest Princess can, but I can’t?” Fan Xian asked. “If a monk can touch, so can I. How did the subject change again? Do you want what to do what I said earlier or not? If you do, I have to quickly send a letter to Shangjing…”
“Her entire family is dead. She won’t be going back to Northern Qi, what does it matter?” Yan Bingyun shook his head.
“One will eventually return home,” Fan Xian said with a smile and patted his shoulder. “Find a quiet place. There are some important things I need to discuss with you.”
Yan Bingyun’s expression immediately became solemn. He said, “Here is fine, no one in my manor eavesdrops.”
Fan Xian was silent for a moment. He then acknowledged his confidence. Yan Ruohai was a spy of many decades that the Overwatch Council had inserted into the army. Yan Bingyun was also one of the most successful spies in the history of the Qing Kingdom. Such father and son must have eyes as sharp as needles. They would certainly not tolerate having anyone stay in their manor if they were unreliable.
“I am about to take over the position of Director,” Fan Xian said quietly as he looked at the raindrops falling in front of the corridor.
There was no surprise on Yan Bingyun’s face. Chen Pingping no longer minded affairs anymore. There was little difference between Fan Xian and the Director. As for whether he would immediately take over the position of Commissioner, he also didn’t care too much. Since Fan Xian had spoken, he was silent for a moment and said, “Congratulations.”
Fan Xian lowered his head and quietly said, “That is why I need to quickly figure out regulations with you. I want to be a true Director.”
Yan Bingyun’s eyes flashed. He watched him calmly as if trying to uncover the true meaning in his words.
“Including your father, the bald head of the Seventh Bureau, and even that old servant by the old cripple, all have more control of the Overwatch Council that we imagined,” Fan Xian said indifferently, like he couldn’t feel his gaze. “If I want to be a true Director, I must have these old colleagues rest completely. These people must be segregated outside of Council affairs.”
“You want Director Chen to completely leave the Overwatch Council and be unable to interfere even if he wanted to?”
“That is exactly what I mean.”
Despite Yan Bingyun’s calm, he couldn’t help but be stunned. He stared dazedly at Fan Xian, unsure why he suddenly had such a thought. A moment later, he smiled contrary to his anger and said, “You want me to defeat my own father.”
“The new replaces the old.” Fan Xian smiled. “It has nothing to do with defeat. It is just separation.”
“I need a reason.”
Fan Xian was silent for a moment and then said, “I’ll tell you a story, a story about a storm in a valley.”
After the story, Fan Xian looked at Yan Bingyun.
“I don’t understand.” Yan Bingyun’s expression was wretched. “The old Director loves you so much, how could he do such a thing?”
“I also didn’t believe it.” Fan Xian lowered his head with pain. “The Emperor seemed to have found something. If the Emperor truly believes this, if the old cripple really wants to kill me, how do you think this will end?”
“The Emperor once summoned you into the palace. You are one the seven gentlemen in his heart. Qin Heng has died, but there are still six of you. Help me, make the Overwatch Council truly mine.”
Sitting on the carriage going out of the city, Fan Xian gave another pleased smile. Last night, he had fooled the Emperor. Now, he had fooled Yan Bingyun through superior acting skills. With this official of the Overwatch Council taking action, in addition to the conversation he was going to have with Chen Pingping, the thing he was most worried about would become something that would never happen because of the Overwatch Council’s full force reorganization.
Behind the attack in the valley had always been the shadow of the Overwatch Council. If Yan Ruohai had not co-operated with the Qin family on Chen Pingping’s orders, along with the Qin family’s private soldiers in Xiao Mountain and the cover of Qin Hen as the Commander of the Jingdou Garrison, it would not have been enough to calculate Fan Xian’s route from Jiangnan, much less carry out such a ferocious attack.
If one wanted to say that Chen Pingping wanted to kill Fan Xian, this one point was sufficient. Fan Xian had used precisely this story to convince Yan Bingyun of his sincerity and make him believe that he did not intend any revenge. He made him believe he only wanted to follow the precedent of attacking the Second Prince and take action first to have the old Director retire peacefully.
The reason he had to make such a loop was because of the Shadow and Ye Qingmei. No matter what, Fan Xian did not dare tell anyone, not Yan Bingyun, not even his wife.
“How many people in the world do you think once wanted to kill me?” Fan Xian sat with a smile in Chen Garden’s silent hall, listening to the chatter in the distance and looking at the aged Chen Pingping at his side.
Chen Pingping’s expression was calm. Coldly, he glanced at him and said, “So, you’re willing to do that to force me out of Jingdou. Yan Ruohai did that. Will Yan Bingyun investigate it?”
“I am not hoping for an investigation. I am hoping you will quickly return to your old home to find your first love.” Fan Xian laughed. “You need to know that beginning tomorrow, I am the Director of the Overwatch Council. You are just a retired and lonely old man. What are you going to fight against me with?”
After saying this, Fan Xian suddenly fell silent. Very solemnly, he said, “You promised me that you would let go, that you had thought it through, but you didn’t. I can only force you away.”
“You little bastard!” Chen Pingping cursed as he coughed. “I don’t control anything anymore, yet you’re still not reassured?”
“Reassured?” Fan Xian said sorrowfully. “Would you not do these things if I was reassured? Tell me… Three years ago, why did you allow yourself to be poisoned?”