Joy of Life - Chapter 640 - Growing Up Overnight[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:50:24]
Chapter 640: Growing Up Overnight
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
One person’s sorrow could not make the entire Chen Garden gloomy, particularly as the sorrow on Fan Xian’s face always made one feel it was slightly mischievous and teasing. Sitting in the wheelchair and looking at the young man in front of him, Chen Pingping couldn’t resist smiling.
It had been five years since Fan Xian saw Chen Pingping for the first time. During these five years, he had seen Chen Pingping grow old and silent. He had experienced how terrifying this elder could be. He had never realized that Chen Pingping’s smile could one day appear so pure, like a child’s.
The aura of darkness that usually enveloped the wheelchair was, for some reason, long gone. Chen Pingping appeared like a believer who had been vegetarian his entire life. He person emanated a clean and likable aura. It was as if he was completely transparent.
Fan Xian stared in shock at his face. He knew that one’s appearance was decided by the heart. He didn’t know what train of thoughts had made Chen Pingping become like he was now. The old man’s eyes were dark but not a heartless indifference. They were calm. Lightly, he watched Fan Xian.. He then slowly said, “Other than that poison, what else?”
“There is a lot. We’ve talked about it before,” Fan Xian said with a sigh and stared into Chen Pingping’s eyes. “You had Sir Fei Jie go through Dongyi and did everything you could to lengthen Sigu Jian’s life…”
From the beginning of this sentence, Fan Xian no longer used a questioning tone. He said each word clearly like he was narrating facts.
“Ku He did everything he could to extend your life because he saw clearly that the longer you lived, the more likely you and the Emperor would become hostile,” Fan Xian continued with his head down. “You want Sigu Jian to live longer because you had long planned to have the Sword Hut expose the Shadow’s identity and force the Emperor to deal with you.”
“Force?” Chen Pingping smiled as if hearing an amusing word.
Fan Xian was not moved by the old man’s smile. Sighing, he said, “As for being poisoned three years ago, looking at it now, it is also very clear. You used this as an excuse to not enter the capital. You allowed the Eldest Princess and empress dowager to do as they wished. On the surface, you were obeying the Emperor’s secret edict and letting the dogs out. In reality, you had a more ambitious intention.”
He self-mockingly said, “At that time, my situation was rather precarious. I didn’t have time to think deeply about it. Only later did I understand. The Eldest Princess’s main strategist was Yuan Hongdao and the Overwatch Council spy the old Qin Master depended the most on, Yan Ruohai. They were both your trusted confidants. Although you were out in the wilds, you had a clear grasp of the rebellion. With these two people helping you in secret, if you wanted to help the Emperor control the situation, Jingdou would certainly not have fallen to such chaos.”
Chen Pingping smiled. In a slightly sharp voice, he said, “Then tell me, why didn’t I control the situation?”
“You wanted the situation to be chaotic. You wished everyone in the Palace would die,” Fan Xian said slowly with his head down. “The Emperor lit a fire, but you let this fire burn a bit too brightly. It killed too many people. You had hoped that, in the end, the world would be a blank slate with just me and the Great Prince left to tidy up the tragedy.”
“There is still something you have not explained. Why would I betray the Emperor? Did I have the ability to make it so that there were only you and Prince Heqing left in Jingdou?”
“You have the power. I never doubted that. If the Emperor truly died on Dong Mountain, Yuan Hongdao and Yan Ruohai’s uses were not fully demonstrated when you tossed aside Yuan Hongdao.” Fan Xian looked at Chen Pingping and tasted something strange at the corners of his mouth. It was slightly bitter and sour. “As for why you betrayed the Emperor, you and I both know very well.”
Chen Pingping laughed out loud and slapped the arms of his wheelchair, like he was slapping a Chinese yo-yo at full strength, making a buzzing sound. He was silent for a long time. He stared intently into Fan Xian’s eyes just like he stared at a similarly young man many years ago. Sinisterly, he said, “Should I not?”
Fan Xian was silent. He had no idea how he should reply to the question. As the son of man, he should say no. He was stunned by Chen Pingping’s bone-deep yearning for Ye Qingmei and a desire for revenge that could destroy everything.
Chen Pingping was the Emperor’s closest subject. From his youth, he had served in King Cheng’s manor. He met Ye Qingmei very late and, presumably, did not know her for very long. Because of that woman who passed through his life, the head of the darkest special operations organization in the world hid a dagger in his heart for over 20 years, hurting himself and everyone around him.
Chen Pingping suddenly sat back in his wheelchair tiredly and said, “You don’t understand what happened in the past. You don’t understand.”
Fan Xian had not been personally involved in the matters in the past. He could not lightly say that he understood. He could only be silent, calculating, and secretly enduring, but he had no idea how to deal with it. If there was only hate between people, perhaps the world would be much simpler. Regardless, the relationships between people were always complicated.
“I also want to understand the second reason you took poison.” Fan Xian looked at Chen Pingping’s clear eyes. His heart suddenly twisted with pain. He felt the matters of the world truly hurt one physically and spiritually. “You thought the Emperor would not be able to come down from Dong Mountain. You also destroyed his kingdom. You two were ruler and official for a lifetime, so you decided to keep him company on the way to the Yellow Springs to complete your relationship as ruler and official.”
Chen Pingping closed his eyes and said, “After all, I watched the Emperor grow up from a child into an Emperor. I understand him too well. He is someone who is afraid of being alone. I worried that he would be afraid on the road between worlds, so I wanted to keep him company.”
“Company?” Fan Xian’s voice became harsh. “He has killed plenty of people. There is no lack of people to keep him company on the road to the Yellow Springs. Did you need to do that?”
He calmed himself and said heavily, “Besides, he didn’t die.”
“It is difficult to make someone die.” Chen Pingping sighed these words for the first time in front of Fan Xian. Looking at him, he slowly said, “I never underestimate the Emperor. That was why before planning and during the execution, I was always cautious and predicted all possible failures. Even if I failed, I would not leave behind any leverage or implicate you.”
Fan Xian looked at Chen Pingping and suddenly felt a powerful sense of worship in his heart. He was too familiar with this old cripple. There were many things that he did not hide from him. He knew more than the Emperor in the palace about the things Chen Pingping had done.
In this world, probably only Chen Pingping could secretly plot to overthrow the Emperor and keep it from the Emperor. This creator of the Overwatch Council’s ability to scheme was too powerful, to the point that he didn’t have to purposely create anything. He only moved with the bigger picture and occasionally added a few dark brush strokes to potentially trap the Emperor and the Qing Kingdom without any hope of reprieve.
It was only because the Emperor was too powerful, to the point of being able to easily shatter all schemes and plots. However, Chen Pingping was also truly remarkable. Even in such circumstances, he still did not reveal any minute flaws and had even planned a retreat many years ago.
Chen Pingping did not care about his life and death. The retreat he cared about was one where Fan Xian was safe after his death. After the Shadow’s accidental stabbing of Fan Xian at Hanging Temple, he had begun to arrange all of it. Everything, including the attack in the valley and the matter in the palace, was all part of him severing his connection with Fan Xian.
Even if one day these things came to light, these matters that had been hidden deeply would all contribute to the separation between Chen Pingping and Fan Xian. In front of the painstakingly collected evidence, the Emperor would believe that Chen Pingping wanted to kill Fan Xian and that Fan Xian had nothing to do with what Chen Pingping did.
As for why Chen Pingping wanted to kill Fan Xian, that was something the Emperor needed to think about. Fan Xian suffered a heavy injury in the Hanging Temple and almost died. He also teetered on the brink in the valley. These two pieces of evidence were too strong.
Fan Xian could feel Chen Pingping’s painstaking efforts. Looking at his old face, he experienced afresh aura rising from his heart. His heart was moved, but he didn’t know what to say.
Chen Pingping’s expression was calm as he said, “You should have already understood these things three years ago. That day before the Chen Garden was repaired, you had said something similar. Why come again today?”
“The Emperor would eventually come suspicious, particularly after your trick in Dongyi,” Fan Xian said. “I came to make these things explicit.”
“The matters in Dongyi were arranged three years ago. After I promised you to let go, I have let go,” Chen Pingping said with a smile.
“I don’t care. Since you are going to let go, do it more completely,” Fan Xian said. “The Emperor has already agreed to have me be the Director of the Overwatch Council. You can completely retire.”
“Retire? That won’t be any different to my life now.”
Fan Xian smiled strangely and said, “You’re going to say that in front of me? If you’re not willing, even if I’m the Director for 10 more years, this Overwatch Council is still yours.”
“Oh, no,” Chen Pingping said with a smile. “The Overwatch Council is the Emperor’s.”
“Oh, no,” Fan Xian copied his tone and sighed. “Two parts of the Overwatch Council are the Emperor’s, and three parts are mine. The other half is yours. It is forever yours.”
After working in the Overwatch Council for so long, Fan Xian knew what disturbing extent of control the old cripple in front of him had over the Overwatch Council. Under the control of Chen Pingping’s old hands, the Emperor’s so-called private special operations organization had long become his own private organization. On one hand, this was because the Emperor had never suspected the loyal dog at his side. On the other hand, it was because Chen Pingping’s prestige in the Overwatch Council was too high. He had too many officials who were loyal to the death.
Fan Xian did not doubt that if the palace issued an edict to bring down Chen Pingping, people like Yan Ruohai and the bald head of the Seventh Bureau would not even think before standing behind Chen Pingping.
Everything for the sake of the Qing Kingdom? In the hearts of the average official of the Overwatch Council, the Qing Kingdom was perhaps the Emperor. In the hearts of the middle-rank official who truly held the power, other than Chen Pingping, there was no one else.
“Hm… What exactly do you want to do?” Chen Pingping looked at Fan Xian and asked with enjoyment. This seemed to be a normal question, but it was also like some kind of exchange between two terms of Overwatch Council Directors.
Fan Xian suddenly lowered his head and sighed sadly. “Before I came here today, I already saw Yan Bingyun. I told him to get ready to bring all eight bureaus and the branches of the Fourth Bureau in each province to heel, to sever any possibility of you extending your hand into the Council. However, I know that if you yourself do not pull back, there is not much Yang Bingyun and I can do.”
“You’re having Yan Bingyun bring down his old man?” Chen Pingping asked as he laughed out loud. “That move was pretty good. Although, there are many more old men he needs to defeat than he imagined.”
The old man he was talking about was the person most loyal to Chen Pingping among the upper-ranks of officials in the Overwatch Council.
Fan Xian sat forward and gently held Chen Pingping’s very wrinkled hands. “Let go.”
“Why are you holding my hand if you want me to let go?” Chen Pingping asked with a smile. “You can try to sever the hand I extend into the Overwatch Council, but I can promise you, old men are stronger than you imagine.”
No sh*t! These old men were there from the start. They were the Overwatch Council’s first clutch of eggs. They had countless disciples and grand-disciples in the Council. It would be difficult to sweep them clean. As Fan Xian cursed in his heart, he angrily said, “The two of us have gotten along well these years, hardly any different from father and son. Are you really going to fight this battle with me?”
“The important problem is that you have not convinced me why I should let go.” Chen Pingping’s gaze was amused.
Fan Xian was silent for a moment. He then said, “The Emperor is already investigating the attack in the valley. He will start investigating the Hanging Temple incident. One day, his suspicions will fall on your head. Even if he can’t get hold of any evidence, this matter is bound to be dangerous. As you know, the Emperor’s temperament has already changed a great deal after so many people died in the palace. If it had been in the past, he would probably use lightning-like methods if he even had the slightest twinge of suspicion. Luckily, he has still not done so.”
These words were true. The Overwatch Council was a power the Emperor valued highly. His trust in Chen Pingping was an oddity of this world. But, if he found anything else in Chen Pingping’s heart, if it had been the Emperor of the past, he would probably have long exploded with rage.
“We’ve also discussed this topic before,” Chen Pingping said as he nodded his head. “The Emperor will always have some affection for me. Even if he suspects me, he won’t act directly. He would rather wait for me to die of old age.”
“Yes, except you keep not dying,” Fan Xian said with a smile. “Not only do you not die, your heart also does not die. So, I can only ask you to leave Jingdou and return to your home to seek your first love.”
Chen Pingping scolded him with a smile. He then suddenly asked, “If I don’t retreat, what will you do?”
“I will begin to move,” Fan Xian said after a moment of silence. “Even if I have to make the Overwatch Council unhappy, I will bring you down.”
“What reason would you use?”
“It is because I found there was the shadow of Director Chen behind the attack in the valley. As a prince and the next Director of the Overwatch Council, I struck out with hatred and want to sentence you to death,” Fan Xian said with his head down. “Regardless of whether or not I can win, the Emperor will think that I had found out about this and allow me to fight. In the end, he will issue an edict to chase you from the capital. On one hand, it fulfills my wishes and satisfies my resentment. On the other, it also protects your life and completes the friendship between you two.”
Chen Pingping’s pure white brows rose. “Presumably, you also used this matter to convince Yan Bingyun?”
Fan Xian nodded.
“To use a non-existent hatred to hide the true danger within.” Chen Pingping thought for a long time and then nodded his head. “You’ve improved a great deal.”
Fan Xian smiled and said, “I thought about it for a month and learned about the internal court investigating the valley incident before thinking of using this.”
Chen Pingping smiled tiredly. He knew what Fan Xian was worried about and why he was going to such lengths to force him to leave Jingdou. Like how Fan Xian’s heart felt moved earlier, this head of special operations, who had been alone his entire life, suddenly felt his heart become much warmer.
“I promise you, I will leave Jingdou.” Chen Pingping gently patted Fan Xian’s hand.
Fan Xian was overjoyed. He laughed and said, “There shouldn’t be a problem with this. I almost died at your hands twice. No matter what the internal court finds, it will all become a footnote to you sadly leaving Jingdou.”
“Thinking of when you charged into the Chen Garden in a wheelchair to yell at me, it was very amusing,” Chen Pingping said with a slight smile.
Fan Xian shook his head with a smile. At that time, he truly did not understand why Chen Pingping was doing these things. It was only after being completely woken by the Eldest Princess did he understand what Chen Pingping wanted to do and why he was carefully preparing to sever himself completely from him.
“The homicide of Taiping Courtyard was done by Qin Ye, right?” Fan Xian asked suddenly.
Chen Pingping glanced at him and quietly said, “Qing Ye is only the Emperor’s dog.”
Fan Xian was silent for a long time. “Was it only because of my existence that the Qin family wanted to rebel in the end?”
“Of course, you are Ye Qingmei’s son.” Chen Pingping smiled. “Qin Ye, that old dog, was hidden by the Emperor for many years. He also knew the Emperor’s thoughts too well. If the Emperor planned to keep using you, then he would certainly not let you know about the story in the past. However, Qin Ye was the only loophole who survived that story.”
“If the Emperor wanted to help you onto the throne and ensure the father and son affection between you two, he had to silence him. Qin Ye had to die,” Chen Pingping said calmly. “That is why Qin Ye had no choice but to rebel.”
In the past, Chen Pingping had refused to tell Fan Xian these things. Now, no matter how much he wanted to hide it and didn’t want to drag Fan Xian into the pool of murky water of the past, there was no longer a need to persist in the refusal.
“So, it was indeed like that.” Fan Xian took a deep breath. The warm spring air entered his lungs but burned in his chest. Although he had long guessed these things, hearing Chen Pingping personally confirm them still made it burn.
“Three years ago, you asked why the Qin family would rebel.” Chen Pingping suddenly looked at him with great interest. “Given your foresight, you shouldn’t be able to see this far. Who tipped you off? Fan Jian?”
“Father never talks to me about this.” Fan Xian laughed bitterly. “It was the Eldest Princess.”
After the name came out from Fan Xian’s mouth, Chen Pingping became quieter. Looking at the trees outside the window, he faintly said, “That crazy woman was also remarkable. She had no idea what happened, but she managed to guess from minute details. It is truly impressive.”
“You had contact with the Eldest Prince during the Jingdou rebellion, didn’t you?” Fan Xian asked something he had hidden for a long time. At the time, the Overwatch Council’s reaction was rather strange. Even though the Emperor had planned to have Chen Pingping lure out the seeds of discord from Jingdou, Chen Pingping’s response was very odd. In particular, the Eldest Princess’s side. It seemed they purposely didn’t pay any attention to the Overwatch Council.
“No.” Chen Pingping closed his eyes. “There are many things that don’t be to be communicated, that only needed each to guess the other’s intentions and goal. The most marvelous plans in the world happen in a flash of inspiration, without any foreshadowing at all. Each person’s intentions land in the same place. Once it is on paper, it becomes inferior.”
“When it comes to such matters, you must learn well from your dead mother-in-law,” Chen Pingping opened his eyes and said with a smile.
Fan Xian smiled tartly and nodded.
Chen Pingping suddenly asked him quietly, “Now that you know enough, what are you planning to do?”
Fan Xian was silent for a long time. He then said, “I don’t know.”
Chen Pingping sighed with some disappointment.
“Is there evidence?” Fan Xian’s voice trembled slightly. “Even a tiny bit of evidence.”
“There are many things in the world that don’t need evidence, only intention. It was only a few years ago that I confirmed that person once had intentions and solidified my own intentions.”
These words had some similarities to what Sigu Jian said. “That day the army was on a Western expedition, the Emperor was near Dingzhou. Your father was also with the army. The Northern Qi army suddenly came south, so I led the Overwatch Council north to Yanjing…”
“Ye Zhong was also summoned to the rear of the Western expedition army.” Chen Pingping indifferently narrated the events. “Most importantly, your mother had just given birth to you and was weak after the birth.”
Fan Xian’s brows gradually pulled together. He asked, “Where was Uncle Wu Zhu? I never understood why he would leave mother’s side at that time.”
“Someone came from the Temple.” Chen Pingping smiled slightly “An emissary appeared on the mainland. Although I never knew where your mother came from, I could guess that there was some connection between her, Wu Zhu, and the Temple. Wu Zhu was also fearful of anything relating to the Temple.”
“People came from the Temple more than once, at least twice. I know of at least two incidences.” Chen Pingping sighed. “Each time they came, Wu Zhu killed them. At that time, the only people who were a threat to your mother seemed to come from the Temple. Wu Zhu did not allow them to come within a hundred li of your mother.”
“That was why Wu Zhu left.”
“But, your mother still died.”
“Died at the hands of her own people.”
Chen Pingping smiled strangely, the words “own people” were said with particular heaviness.
Fan Xian also smiled with particular care. He then rose and patted Chen Pingping’s shoulder. “I had long guessed these things. Only after hearing it from you does it feel so real. You don’t have to think about these things anymore.”
Chen Pingping smiled and asked, “The chest should still be on your hands, right? Where is Wu Zhu?”
Fan Xian smiled somewhat bitterly and said after a moment, “The chest is not with me. Uncle Wu Zhu had to leave.”
Chen Pingping made of a sound of acknowledgment and once again did not hide his faint disappointment in front of Fan Xian.
Fan Xian suddenly asked with surprise, “You knew the chest was with me?”
“Your father also knew,” Chen Pingping said, “That is why that father of yours does not know.”
Fan Xian was slightly moved and took a long time to digests the surprise in his heart. Thinking of his father, who had already retired, who knew how much he had done for him? Involuntarily, a pang of longing grew in his heart. He once again patted Chen Pingping’s skinny shoulder. Smiling, he said, “You told me to learn from the already dead Eldest Princess, but I think you should learn from my still living father. Let go when it’s time, and retreat when it’s time.”
He placed both his hands on Chen Pingping’s shoulder. Pressing slightly, he said, “Let me handle things in the future.”
Chen Pingping smiled and didn’t say anything. However, he thought that given this child’s nature, he would probably have to keep watching and enduring. He just didn’t know how long to watch and endure for. There were many wretched people in the world. With Fan Xian’s background, he was, without question, among the most wretched.
Thinking of this, Chen Pingping suddenly felt that he and Fan Xian’s efforts these 20 years had not been wasted. Fan Xian had grown up healthily and quickly. It was as if he had grown up overnight.