Joy of Life - Chapter 654 - The Starlight Spilling Into The World[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:50:30]
Chapter 654: The Starlight Spilling Into The World
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Milky white fog slowly gathered in the mountain valley. The sun slowly rose above the East Sea and toiled to climb above countless mountains, bringing warmth and sunlight into the air above the hollow in the mountain, lightly dissipating the white fog.
It seemed that in a moment, the sky brightened. In the mountain valley covered by trees, the birds chirped as they woke. Dew fell from the leaves, shaking free of the heavy burden. The leaves quickly bounced up like they were stretching. The entire mountain valley was filled with a sense of fresh air.
Fan Xian rubbed his tired eyes and sat for a while by his bed before coming to his senses. He had talked with his father for too long and had slept too late, something he was not used to. Not many people in Ten Family Village knew about his arrival. There were no servants or serving girls. When he pushed opened the wooden door and felt the slightly cool wind wash over him, he was surprised to see a basin of hot water at his feet.
Sitting on the threshold, he wrung out the towel in the hot basin of water and rubbed it vigorously over his face until his cheeks were slightly red. Only then did he feel satisfied and tossed his towel back into the basin. Picking up the basin, he walked into the courtyard next door to indicate that he saw his subordinates’ silence.
Fan Xian served his father for the entire morning, bringing him tea, handing him water, making his food, and massaging his shoulders. He had been reborn 20 years. Much of it had been spent in Danzhou. He was always busy in Jingdou. It had also been three years since he saw his father. He knew that as a son, he had not been competent. Thus, the rare opportunity of being in the mountain valley of a foreign country without other matters to bother him, he seriously fulfilled his responsibility as a son.
Minister Fan was surprised at first, but he understood what Fan Xian was thinking. He only smiled and calmly allowed him to serve him.
After casually having some plain porridge and buns, the father and son pushed open the door of the courtyard and walked along the wide paths in Ten Family Village, heading in the direction of the large mountain by the village. The path was faintly hidden by a white fog, so it was difficult to see the pavement and gaps beneath one’s feet. Fan Xian carefully supported his father as they walked and quietly talked.
The roads through had three horizontal and one vertical. Although hidden in the white fog, one could still see they were crafted to a high standard and were very wide. It was completely at odds with the height of the buildings in the mountain estate. Fan Xian knew this would be needed for transportation, so it had been prepared ahead of time.
A peach blossom peaked out from the white fog, Minister Fan pointed at it and quietly said some things. At his side, Fan Xian repeatedly nodded his head. Reaching the side of a stone well, Minister Fan said something else. Fan Xian nodded again.
Throughout their morning walk, Minister Fan warmly explained to Fan Xian what each workshop would be used for and who would be stationed in each room, as well as how the three workshops should be arranged if they were rebuilt. Talking and walking like this, it did not take long for the father and son to follow the stone path into the mountain. They only stopped walking when they reached a kind of flying stone at the middle of the mountain.
The father and son turned their heads to look down the mountain at the same time. They saw a streak of golden sunlight shining through tens of thousands of li. In an instant, it swept aside the white fog in the valley and revealed the true appearance therein. Countless residences of various designs lay in picturesque disorder long the direct path and narrow streets, all lined up in the valley. Among the green walls and black eaves, an occasional ancient tree stretched out. It appeared fresh and clean. In the distance, one could faintly see streaks of smoke spiraling into the air, presumably, those who had risen early were boiling water and cooking breakfast.
Fan Xian narrowed his eyes and gazed into the mountain valley only to see that the densely packed residences between the two mountains stretched further and further, expanding toward the east. He couldn’t even see an indication of the end.
The previous night, he had only seen the starlight beneath his feet. Now, he had seen the truth and realized that the Ten Family Village had now become such a vast existence. Thinking of the hard work these two years of those who had worked hard for Ten Family Village, and seeing the results in front of him, a smile gradually rose to his face.
“The crime of wealth.” Minister Fan supported his waist with his hand and smiled. Panting slightly, he said, “What you see is only a shell. If you really put treasures inside, once the news gets out, everyone in the world will probably want a piece of you.”
“Not many people have the ability to take a bite of me,” Fan Xian replied with a smile.
Minister Fan shook his head disapprovingly and said, “Although the mountain valley is easy to defend and difficult to assault, how can a mere few thousand people stand against the attack of a kingdom’s army?”
“Last night, you showed me the map. If the Emperor really wants to send out troops, Dongyi and Northern Qi are in between and should have some reaction.”
“Dongyi is about to become part of the Qing Kingdom…”
“Only in name. Without 10 years of labor, it will be difficult for the Qing Kingdom to peacefully assimilate Dongyi into itself.”
“What about Dongyi itself? Or the Northern Qi people?” Minister Fan looked at him with a slight smile. “The things you mother left behind are alluring. No one can resist them. This place is close to Northern Qi. How could the Northern Qi people pass up such an opportunity?”
Fan Xian smiled and helped his father sit on a stone halfway up the mountain. After thinking for a moment, he said, “For Northern Qi, I have a way to hold the little Emperor in check. Even if he is truly blinded by the diamond, I have a way to make him forget about it.”
“For a second palace treasury to appear in the world, do you think the ruler of a kingdom will give it up so easily?” Minister Fan used an amused gaze to take measure of his son. “Although I don’t know where your confidence about the Northern Qi Emperor comes from, if this matter gets out, the civil and martial officials of Northern Qi are bound to be salivating. Even if the Northern Qi Emperor is unwilling to offend you, how can he stop the will of an entire country?”
Fan Xian stood by his father’s side and withdrew his downward gaze. Smiling bitterly, he said, “Then, what can we do? This has always been a thorny problem. Putting aside the Emperor for now, even if, many years in the future, I want to protect this place, I need to be powerful enough to do so.’
“Fine, we’ll do as you say and put aside the Emperor for now.” Minister Fan smiled. The father and son both knew that the biggest danger to Ten Family Village was still from the Emperor in Jingdou. “Just speaking of the three kingdoms under heaven that you need to contend with, how much power do you have at the moment to protect this place?”
“I have control of the most ninth-level aces in the world.” Fan Xian was silent for a moment and then said seriously, “More than the Emperor.”
“You’re certain that Sigu Jian is willing to give those people to you?” Minister Fan asked. “Even if he is willing, once he dies, how will you control the people of the Sword Hut?”
“That’ll depend on how Sigu Jian handles it,” Fan Xian replied. “As for the problem of whether or not he will give them to me, I think that he won’t have to consider it. For Dongyi, there is the greatest benefit for them in this matter.”
“Speaking of benefits, I am truly worried about the commoners of the Qing Kingdom.” Fan Jian suddenly became gloomy.
“This here is only a supplement, a back-up, a threat.” Fan Xian pressed his lips together and quietly said, “If we don’t have to use it, that is the best conclusion.”
The white fog in the mountain valley had cleared long ago. Forced by the gradually rising temperature on the ground, the white fog floated upward shapelessly. It met the slightly cold mountain breeze at the waist of the mountain and gradually formed into white fog again.
The Fan father and son sat amongst the white clouds on the stones. Fog swirled around them. Their clothing fluttered gently. They looked like two immortals. Not far away, by the road into the mountain, there was a farmer chopping wood. He forcefully suppressed the curiosity in his heart and didn’t turn his gaze toward the two shadowy figures in the clouds. Further away, there were the tips of something hidden in the darkness. These people were the guards of Ten Family Village, protecting the buildings and people in the darkness.
The existence of these people probably couldn’t fool Fan Xian or Minister Fan, but the two of them did not want to disturb too many people. They only silently watched as the clouds grew and faded around them.
After a long silence, Minister Fan suddenly said calmly, “After reading a thousand of years of history books, I have never seen someone able to change the world from the marrow of his bones.”
Fan Xian didn’t respond. He knew what his father meant.
“Your mother was blessed by heaven. She had pose and talent of a celestial being. Perhaps she wanted to use her strength to change this world. In the end, she failed.” Minister Fan’s expression was cold and wooden. Within this cold woodenness, there was an unspeakable lament.
He raised his arm and pointed at the group of buildings in the valley. His sleeve fluttered lightly in the wind as he emotionally said, “Many years ago, on a wasteland in North Min, I looked upon a boundless and magnificent view, just like I am today, and watched as it returned to nothingness. Your mother’s mind was always filled with such strange and marvelous thoughts. Not only did it subdue the people of the world, it also seemed to subdue the limits the heavens had given us. How could people not be moved?”
Fan Xian was slightly moved as he listened.
“If your mother hadn’t died, the palace treasury would certainly not be what it is like now. Following her thoughts, the property of the Ye family would eventually cover the world.” Fan Jian sighed. “When you had the idea to form Ten Family Village, I did not approve at first. Thinking of your mother’s dreams, I decided to allow you to do as you wished.”
“I have long been pondering some questions. Where exactly did your mother come from? What did you want to do in coming to this world? And, why did she leave?”
Fan Xian sat down close to his father and was silent.
In the mountain wind, Minister Fan’s clear and thin face appeared particularly calm. “Us old folks experienced what happened many years ago. We could guess that your mother came from the illusory and misty Temple and Wu Zhu was her guard. The Temple never interferes in worldly affairs, so why would there be such a dreamlike story?”
Fan Xian hugged his knees with his arms and gently placed his face against his knees, watching sideways as his father was lost in thought. He knew his father had been a famous romantic in Jingdou. His poetry and art had all been the best of the time. Later, his friends began to think about world affairs, so he had given up those spirited and superficial things and invested himself into such dry but important affairs as accounts.
Halfway up the mountain by Ten Family Village, Fan Jian, who had already retired from the position of the Qing Kingdom’s Minister of Revenue for three years, finally returned to his artistic youth. However, the youth was nearing old age.
“If it had truly been a net the Emperor wove back then, why was Wu Zhu lured away?” Minister Fan’s voice suddenly grew sharp. Staring at Fan Xian, he said, “There was only one kind of threat in this world that could move Wu Zhu from your mother’s side.”
Fan Xian murmured, “The Temple.”
“Correct. That day, if no one from the Temple had descended into our world, Wu Zhu would not have left Jingdou to stop them,” Minister Fan said with his eyes narrowed. “If all of this was part of the Emperor’s plan, how did he know people would come from the Temple at that time? How could he have been able to have contact with the illusory Temple?”
“You suspect that the Emperor worked with the Temple back then?” Fan Xian sat up his straight. His hands left his legs as he looked at his father.
Minister Fan lowered his eyelids slightly and said, “These years, Chen Pingping and I guessed back and forth. The reason we never made a move was because we still feel some respect and fear toward the Temple. If the Emperor was truly the one chosen by the Temple, what could we do?”
“If only Wu Zhu had not lost his memory. He should know the secret of the Temple.” He looked at Fan Xian gently and said, “If you’re really going to separate from the Emperor, you must figure out this matter properly. We are all mortals. We are not like your mother. Mortals cannot oppose the Temple.”
Fan Xian’s expression was calm. Even after hearing about the Temple, he still did not feel a trace of fear. “Uncle Wu Zhu has already left.”
“Where did he go?”
“He went home… Yes, it should be the Temple.” The corners of Fan Xian’s lips twitched. “Before he left, he said that there was no one left in the Temple. So, Father, you don’t have to be too worried. If the Temple truly does not interfere in worldly affairs, then he would have even less influence on me.”
“How long has Wu Zhu been gone?”
“Almost three years.”
“He hasn’t even returned after three years.” Minister Fan slowly closed his eyes. “I’m worried something went wrong.”
Fan Xian didn’t comment. He was also worried about Uncle Wu Zhu. He had never thought to use the secular matters of the world to prevent Uncle Wu Zhu from seeking his own journey. Furthermore, from the beginning, he knew the Temple hidden in snow and ice played some kind of role in that story from many years ago. Listening to his father’s analysis, he felt even more certain of this.
“You should know now why Chen Pingping was determined for you to send Xiao En back to Northern Qi.”
“Only Xiao En, Ku He, and Uncle Wu Zhu know where the Temple is. Naturally, Ku He would not speak of it. Uncle Wu Zhu could not remember, so only Xiao En knew,” Fan Xian replied. “The old Director wanted me to know the secret of the Temple.”
After saying this, Fan Xian’s eyelids suddenly trembled. The past and the future… Many things suddenly welled up in his heart. He clearly remembered the conversation he had by the pond in the Overwatch Council, by the fish sunk into the sandy bottom, with the old man on the wheelchair.
Chen Pingping waved his hand and said with furrowed brows, “You have to learn to broaden your gaze. Don’t always focus on one ministry, one department, a mere official, a mere Jingdou. You have to learn to stand taller…”
Fan Xian replied, “Should I have my gaze on the entire world?”
Chen Pingping smiled. “Perhaps even higher.”
Where would a gaze higher than the entire world be? It was the Temple that was high above the clouds and deep within ice. Fan Xian’s expression changed slightly. Only now did he understand that Chen Pingping had guessed the Temple stood behind the Emperor a long time ago. That was why he had him send Xiao En back North. It was to remind him that the Emperor was not merely a man.
“Since you understand, that is good. The Emperor is already very powerful, but there is also the Temple behind him.” Minister Fan kept his eyes closed. “That is why I cannot summon any desire to oppose him. Since you dare to do so, you must make sure to dig from the root.”
Fan Xian didn’t comment. Having Uncle Wu Zhu go home had actually been a hidden move in his plan. When it came to the Temple, only a non-human like that of a Great Grandmaster or beyond could defeat it. Uncle Wu Zhu returned to the Temple, but Fan Xian remained suffering in this world.
“Although Wu Zhu thinks there is no one in the Temple,” Minister Fan furrowed his brows, “who knows? According to what you said, he has already left for more than two years, yet there has not been any message from him. What if something went for him there? Then what?”
“I don’t know.” A sense of defeat grew in Fan Xian’s heart. In front of the Emperor, he had felt this so often that he was already numb so he didn’t care much about it.
“If things don’t go well, I will go to the Temple to find him. Even if he’s dead, I will dig out his body from the snow.” An icy cold wave washed over Fan Xian’s heart. Among the iciness was an inextinguishable determination. Unyielding and calm, he said, “This has nothing to do with the Qing Kingdom. This is my own business.”
Uncle Wu Zhu was his closest family, a part of his life that could not be missing. If something happened to Uncle Wu Zhu, Fan Xian would not feel comfortable even if he continued to live. Even if he couldn’t live comfortably, what was the point of living?
Minister Fan looked at him calmly. He knew the secret of the Temple was hidden in the depths of this kid’s heart. Thinking of how he had been keeping it from him all these years, Minister Fan was not angry. On the contrary, he was happy. There were not many young people left in this world who were so shrewd. Probably only such a young person could live through his battles with the Emperor and live better each day.
“If things don’t go well?” Although he was approving, Minister Fan still said mockingly, “If there is actually such a day, do you think the Emperor will let you begin the journey of seeking the Temple alive?”
“I don’t know.” This was the second time Fan Xian said this phrase. There were not many unfathomable people in this world, but it was clear the Emperor was one of them. Fan Xian did not wish to completely sever his connection to the man on the throne because there was some affection and Fan Xian knew he was not a match for the Emperor in any way.
“I don’t know,” Fan Xian repeated. “As long as one is alive, there are things that must be done. Even if I fail, so what? Although the Emperor is incredibly powerful, if he wants to kill me, it’s not that simple.”
He smiled roughly and said, “Unless, he is willing to leave the Royal Palace, toss aside state affairs, and chase me all over the world.”
Minister Fan smiled slightly and said, “Such a thing really does not fit his nature. However, you are his most trusted and favored official. If he finds out that you have truly betrayed him, nothing he does under such surging emotions would surprise anyone.”
“Then, I can only pray for heavenly protection,” Fan Xian said with a slight smile. “So, it still comes back to those words. Before Uncle Wu Zhu returns, I don’t want to turn hostile against the Emperor.
Minister Fan also smiled. He finally understood his indecisive swaying these two years. It was not only because he was sunk beneath the unease of suppressed ethics. It was because he was waiting and had to stall for time.
If the Emperor’s powerful confidence came from the Qing Kingdom’s powerful might, the endless gold from the palace treasury, tactics of controlling the world, as well as his powerful Great Grandmaster’s cultivation, then Fan Xian’s confidence came from the portion of the Overwatch Council that belonged to him, the information in his mind that was enough to build a new palace treasury, the banknotes in his shirt that were enough to build a new palace treasury, and the powerful Wu Zhu.
“I hope Ye Liuyun truly went overseas.” Minister Fan glanced at Fan Xian meaningfully.
Fan Xian was silent for a long time. He knew what his father was reminding him of. A moment later, he said, “I also hope so.”
Fan Xian only stayed in Ten Family Village for a day. He secretly met with the Qingyu Hall shopkeepers he had rescued from Jingdou. Both sides sighed endlessly. Although the old shopkeepers were already dead men in the records of the Qing court, they still had family in Jingdou, as well as friends and brothers in the three large workshops in Jiangnan. Thus, Fan Xian had been worried they would have other thoughts after having them stay alone in Ten Family Village.
After meeting them, he realized that the old shopkeepers were particularly enthusiastic about building a new palace treasury to the point that they wished they could devote the remainder of their lives to it.
For these old shopkeepers of the Ye family, it had nothing to do with the bullsh*t palace treasury. They did not care to what extent the strength of the Qing Kingdom would be weakened. They only knew that these things should have been the Ye family’s but had been shamelessly stolen by the Qing royal family. Since the young master wanted to rebuild the old Ye family, their tears began to flow unhindered and, their old hearts began to gallop.
Fan Xian and these old shopkeepers re-verified the industrial arts’ workflow diagrams of the three large workshops. They once again confirmed the possible future of the Ten Family Village, finally completing the purpose for his visit. At dusk, he bowed formally to his father and left the large village alone. He walked into the deep mountain valley.
When he reached the hillside and turned back to look, the valley was already dark. Gradually, lights flickered on like the stars in the sky. He raised his head and looked at the stars scattered across the sky like the lights in the mortal realm. A sky full of starlight. Who knew if it had spilled from the heavens or rose from the ground? It was incredibly beautiful.