Joy of Life - Chapter 671 - A Match Made In Heaven[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:50:36]
Chapter 671: A Match Made In Heaven
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The line of black carriages was surrounded by the bright torches on the road. However, the line of carriages was too long. Even though the officials of Dazhou had already come out of the city, along with the aces of the 13 yamens led by the three internal court eunuchs, they could only envelop the line of carriages. It was impossible to surround all the carriages. The eyes of the officials were focused on the court criminal. They were not worried that the bloody man carrying his wife and child would be able to disappear in front of them.
However, no one charged forward to capture Gao Da. Everyone could sense something odd. The person holding the court criminal was clearly not a commoner. The uniform he wore appeared very familiar.
Although the style of the carriages appeared normal, a caravan of 30-something carriages was not something that could be seen whenever and wherever. No matter how stupid someone was, they could guess that someone important was among the carriages.
The officials of the Ministry of Justice’s 13 yamens spat quietly and cursed their misfortune. They had not thought they would be so lucky as to finally capture the criminal the court had been searching for outside the isolated Dazhou yet also run into such a strange group of carriages.
The officials of the Ministry of Justice did not panic. Although they still didn’t know the identity of the group of carriages, they were following the orders of the Hall of Governmental Affairs, which was practically half a royal mission. Who under heaven would obstruct them? Even if it was some member of the nobility inside the carriages, they couldn’t criticize the court for capturing criminals.
The three internal court eunuchs emerged from the circle of torches. The old eunuch in charge narrowed his eyes and looked at the strange group of carriages and blood-covered criminal lying on the ground in front of the carriages. A few people in black uniforms seemed to be tending to his injuries. The mute and white-faced woman was holding the child and looking anxiously at the criminal.
This internal court ace narrowed his eyes. His nostrils flared slightly, feeling a sliver of surprise and unease. He easily recognized which faction the black-uniformed people belonged to.
Although Gao Da had bravely charged onto the road after the fight and heavily injured two of the internal court aces, he was also at the end of his strength. Since he wanted to protect the woman on his back and the child on his chest, there were many wounds on his body.
The blood roiled inside the internal court ace who had organized the capture. It could not be calmed for a moment. He looked at the carriages in front of him and furrowed his brows slightly. He would not act overly arrogantly. Plus, he was feeling slightly afraid.
As an ace of the internal court with a royal mission, he had nothing to be scared of—even if this group of carriages belonged to the Overwatch Council. The problem was that he didn’t know the rank of the Overwatch Council carriages. Since the criminal they were capturing today was Tiger Guard Gao Da, a man who had once been Sir Fan junior’s close personal guard, if the Overwatch Council were to discover this…
The eunuch took a deep breath. Under the light of the torch, he slowly walked forward. Facing the pure black carriage on the road, he said in a raspy voice, “Internal court member, He Qigan. I am here to capture the criminal by imperial edict.”
He didn’t first ask the identity of the carriages. Instead, he took the initiative and made clear his identity and purpose. If the black carriages actually did something, the internal court would have established their footing first.
The aces of the 13 yamens gradually noticed that something was wrong. They were no longer as confident as they were before. They spread out cautiously around the carriages. The Dazhou soldiers were very confused. These men from Jingdou each had their eyes above their heads. Even when they had been faced with the court criminal, who was as ferocious as a tiger, no one had retreated half a step. Why were they suddenly so cautious when faced with this group of black carriages?
“Criminal?” The Overwatch Council official who was crouched by Gao Da tending to his wounds suddenly furrowed his brows as he heard the internal court eunuch’s words. A complicated expression suddenly flashed through his eyes. Looking at the fainted Gao Da, he muttered to himself in a low voice, “So, you slipped away too.”
The internal court eunuch did not receive a response, but he had expected that. The Overwatch Council always acted mysteriously. Once they clashed with the forces in court, they became unusually arrogant and tyrannical. Although the internal court had the power to control the Overwatch Council in name, under Chen Pingping and Fan Xian, the Overwatch Council was not at all afraid of the internal court.
“May I inquire as to who of the Overwatch Council is in the carriage and if there are any urgent matters?” The internal court eunuch shuttered his eyes slightly. “I must trouble you to hand over this criminal to be dealt with by the internal court.”
With more than 30 carriages, no one knew how many officials, secret agents, or important things they carried. To have the privilege of having the Overwatch Council send out over 30 specially made carriages, it had to be for the protection of am important Council figure or an important task. Although this eunuch was an ace of the internal court, he still did not want to affect the Overwatch Council’s business. Additionally, he was afraid that his luck might be so bad as to meet Sir Fan junior outside Dazhou.
The Overwatch Council official who had been crouching by Gao Da’s side slowly stood up. Meeting the dazzling glare of the torchlight, he narrowed his eyes at the internal court ace. After a moment of silence, he suddenly said, “I am the deputy head of the Second Bureau of the Overwatch Council. I must trouble you to show your orders.”
The eunuch’s temple suddenly pounded with afire. He had not thought that this Overwatch Council official would want to see the orders he carried with him after he and his people had revealed their identities.
The Overwatch Council was not afraid of the internal court, nor was the internal court afraid of the Overwatch Council. They were only afraid of the Overwatch Council’s two Directors. They had weight in front of the Emperor, more weight than the entire internal court combined. Thus, usually the internal court was very polite to the Overwatch Council. The Overwatch Council also did not like to offend the internal court.
The current situation and Overwatch Council official’s boldness in saying such a thing both appeared tyrannical. It involuntarily made the internal court ace’s heart tremble slightly. This was at odds with how the Overwatch Council usually acted. In the carriage, could it actually be…
“Is the duke in the carriage? Please allow me to greet him.” The internal court eunuch gritted his teeth. Although the Overwatch Council was powerful, he was not afraid. He was just afraid Sir Fan junior was actually in the carriage. Otherwise, why would this official be so cold and stubborn?
“The Director is dealing with matters in Dongyi.” The Overwatch Council official furrowed his brows and glanced at him as if he had not expected him to begin probing so quickly. Coldly, he said, “Since we are all working for the court, what’s the problem with me wanting to see your orders?”
Hearing that Fan Xian was not in the carriages, the eunuch’s heart immediately settled. Although the Overwatch Council was terrifying, they were, after all, the Emperor’s special organization. They wouldn’t obstruct the internal court.
“When has the internal court ever had to report to the Overwatch Council?” The eunuch’s expression gradually grew heavy. In a raspy voice, he said, “Come, take down this court criminal!”
After giving this order, he moved his eyes to the face of the deputy head of the Second Bureau. His gaze was substantial as he tried to intimidate him. The internal court led the 13 yamens. If the Overwatch Council insisted on interfering, what difference was that to rebelling?
He had been dispatched by the Emperor to be Scholar He’s subordinate and searching the wilds of the Qing Kingdom for Gao Da without rest. He had not returned to Jingdou in a year. Thus, he didn’t know much about what had happened in the Overwatch Council. He only knew that Sir Fan junior was indeed busy with the matter of Dongyi’s surrender. He didn’t know who could be among this group of black carriages.
A few of the aces from the Ministry of Justice’s 13 yamens looked at each other and saw the cautiousness and unease in each other’s eyes. They knew the carriages were filled with officials of the Overwatch Council. All of the officials in the court’s six ministries and three departments felt an innate fear and conflicting emotion toward the Overwatch Council. If this had been any other time, these officials of the Ministry of Justice would not have, under any circumstances, openly opposed the Overwatch Council. Now, however, they were acting on behalf of the court and countless eyes saw the bloody criminal lying among the Overwatch Council members. Thus, they were more confident than usual.
The officials of the Ministry of Justice slowly and steadily moved their feet and inched closer toward the carriage. The Overwatch Council officials by the carriage did not make any movements. It was as if they also felt it was not worth it to turn against the entire internal court and Ministry of Justice for a court criminal.
The people all around let out a breath at the same time. A few Ministry of Justice officials had just about reached Gao Da’s side and taken out a cangue. As they were about to put it on him, the silent and frowning Overwatch Council official suddenly said, “It’s still not right. He is a criminal because you say so? You are a eunuch of the internal court not an official of the Supreme Court.”
Immediately after, he waved his hand.
Cold light flashed. The Overwatch Council officials by Gao Da’s side still stood to the side with their hands behind their backs. They had not moved an inch. However, a number of swordsmen flew out like a gust of wind from the darkness beside the carriages. In a flash, they had drawn their swords and laid them across the necks of a few of the Ministry of Justice officials.
The faces of the officials immediately paled. They had been careful. They had not thought there were such powerful aces hidden in the darkness far away from the well-lit road. They had not made one move and were now controlled by the other party.
The internal court ace slowly raised his head and narrowed his eyes. His pupils constricted. He watched the movement in front of him, especially the swordsmen enveloped in black clothing, and couldn’t help but feel a chill. The reputation of the killers of the Sixth Bureau were clearly well-deserved.
However, he felt no fear. Looking at the deputy head of the Second Bureau, he coldly said, “Looks like you also know of this criminal’s identity and that he was once Director Fan’s confidant…”
This was considered exposing motives. Suddenly, hundreds of people heard these words. No one could kill all of them to silence them. If the Overwatch Council prevented the internal court from capturing this criminal, then the rumors imposed on Fan Xian would reach Jingdou.
The Overwatch Council official lowered his head slightly. After a moment of thought, he said, “Damn eunuch. I don’t care what you say. However, you said you are acting on orders, so I want to see your orders. Even if you don’t have them, you have to at least show me the Ministry of Justice’s wanted posters. Otherwise, if I say you are a bandit bringing disaster to the countryside, what arguments do you have?”
After these words, a cold smile rose to the corners of the official’s lips. He appeared icy and confident.
According to rank, the Dazhou Zhizhou standing behind everyone was the highest ranking official. However, he knew there was something off about this matter. Furthermore, it involved the Overwatch Council, Hall of Governmental Affairs, internal court, and Ministry of Justice. How could he, a mere Zhizhou of a small city, involve himself? After hearing the word “bandit,” the Zhizhou couldn’t help but laugh bitterly. The people of the Overwatch Council were indeed shameless and ruthless. In front of all of these court officials, how could he accuse an internal court eunuch of being a bandit?
Capturing Gao Da and Wang Qinian had always been something He Zongwei was doing in secret. He wanted to hide the matter until the very end so that there was no opportunity for things to turn around after the conflict between the Emperor and Fan Xian exploded. He had not reported it to the Emperor, so he didn’t have the Emperor’s own handwritten orders. Furthermore, he didn’t want the powerful factions subordinate to Fan Xian to discover his plans, so everything had been done secretly. There wasn’t even a Ministry of Justice wanted poster.
If they caught Gao Da and Wang Qinian, it would be an easy matter to make up for the paperwork. However, the Overwatch Council official was truly sharp. He had immediately seen the problem. With one phrase, he had forced the internal court, as well as the special investigation members of the Ministry of Justice, into a corner.
The internal court eunuch was silent for a moment. He couldn’t bring out the Emperor’s edict or the Ministry of Justice’s wanted poster. He was also not about to watch Gao Da, a court criminal, slip away before his eyes.
“Naturally, my identity will be proven by the various members of the Ministry of Justice who all have their tokens.” The internal court eunuch coldly turned the matter in a different direction. “At this time, we want to take the man. If the Overwatch Council wants to stop us, you can kill all of us if you want.”
With these words, the entire road fell silent. A stern and cold atmosphere began to fill the air. The internal court eunuch appeared tense, but he actually felt very calm. Presumably, the officials in the Overwatch Councils had already learned of Tiger Guard Gao Da’s identity in the shortest amount of time. They knew of the connection between their Director and Gao Da. Regardless of whether or not they knew the court wanted to use this matter to cause trouble, they would certainly not let the internal court capture Gao Da so easily.
The problem was that the internal court and Ministry of Justice had to take Gao Da back to Jingdou before the Overwatch Council informed Fan Xian of the matter. They had to use force because this internal court eunuch believed that no matter how tough the Overwatch Council was, they would not kill people in the mountains of the Qing Kingdom.
This eunuch believed the Overwatch Council had enough force within these 30 odd carriages to kill everyone. But, he more so believed that if the Overwatch Council didn’t want to rebel, they would not act so ruthlessly. Thus, he walked coldly and slowly toward Gao Da.
The Overwatch Council official turned his body and glanced at him coldly as if calculating how he should deal with the situation at hand. If it had been any other time, the official would have thought of countless sinister ideas that would have the people of the internal court and Ministry of Justice eating sh*t however. They had unexpectedly run into Gao Da and suddenly heard that the court was hunting a court criminal. In particular, he had sensed the danger hidden in this matter that could possibly drag the Commissioner in. The official’s emotions swayed back and forth. He couldn’t make up his mind for a moment.
No one came out from the carriage. All of the Overwatch Council officials and secret agents, including the swordsmen of the Sixth Bureau hiding in the darkness, were all waiting for him to speak. He remained silent until the internal court eunuch had reached Gao Da’s side.
A clamor suddenly broke the silence and tension outside Dazhou. A wave of women’s laughter and crying suddenly split through the night air. It was like immortal fox stories told in Song and Yuan literature where a quiet evening suddenly became an outing paradise.
Everyone’s ears perked up as their hearts tightened. This late at night, where had all these women suddenly come from?
Immediately after, everyone’s eyes froze. They had never thought that there would a day, no, a night when they would see so many beautiful women all at once.
There were beautiful dresses in countless colors, pretty as the wind, with figures swaying in the breeze and all different kinds of makeup. Chattering, they surged toward the tense situation from behind the group of carriages. They seemed not to know that the area in front of them was caught in a tense and nervous atmosphere. They continued to talk about their irritations on the journey and whose powder had gotten mixed with dirt with great liveliness.
The road home was far. After sitting for so long, they felt the call of nature and wanted to crouch in the bushes. None of these savage men in the Council were as tactful and knowledgeable as Sir Fan junior, so no one called for a stop. The carriages had finally stopped, yet no one had come to take their little hand.
Everyone stared at this scene in a daze and felt that they had sunk into an unreal environment, particularly the Ministry of Justice officials at the very front. Looking at this beautiful scene, it was as if they had seen a ghost.
The internal court eunuch who had been calmly walking to Gao Da’s side suddenly opened his eyes wide and abruptly stood up straight. Looking at these beautiful women, he suddenly thought of that garden that everyone in Jingdou knew about.
Then, he saw a pure black wheelchair being brought down from the pure black carriage.
In the wheelchair sat an old cripple. His legs were covered with a lamb wool blanket. The old cripple looked at the head eunuch. In a raspy and sharp voice, he calmly said, “Why have we stopped for so long? Looks like if I’m not some director, my words aren’t as good as that kid’s.”
The internal court ace looked at Chen Pingping like he was looking at a ghost. He could not understand why this old man had suddenly appeared outside Dazhou. His knees began to tremble. His entire body was taken over by fear.
He knew he had made a grave mistake. He had only thought that if Sir Fan junior was not in the carriages, then there was no one in the Overwatch Council who would openly challenge the authority the internal court represented. However, he had not thought that although Sir Fan junior was not present, the old Director was in the carriages.
With a thud, he knelt to the ground and bowed his head deeply. Very respectfully, he said, “Greetings, Director.”
Dumbstruck, all of the officials, bailiffs, and soldiers immediately guessed the old cripple’s identity. The Qing Kingdom’s decades of sinister might pressed down on them. They didn’t dare make any movements. Rigidly, they fell to their knees and knelt on the ground, including the Dazhou Zhizhou. There was no exception.
On either side of the road, there knelt a dense mass of officials facing the old cripple by the carriage. Chen Pingping looked around. His face was calm. Suddenly, he made a fist and coughed. A strange emotion flashed through his eyes. He muttered to himself, “Ye Zi was right, coincidence’s mother indeed gave birth to coincidence.”
In April, the entire stately Royal Palace in Jingdou was enveloped by the faint fading summer light. It was quiet and peaceful. The Qing Kingdom was in the midst of a great celebration. From the Emperor to the common people, a fresh and alluring aura emanated from each person’s body. The usually gloomy and dark Palace seemed to have changed its style. Even the slowly move spots of light in Taiji Palace appeared so cheeky.
The only place where nothing changed was the royal study. It had a warm stove in the winter and a basin of ice in the summer, like each season was spring. It lacked change and made one irritable. The master of the royal study, the Qing Kingdom’s mighty Emperor, was like a terrifying figure that passed decades like a year and did not change at all.
“The Ministry of Justice people should have reached Dazhou. Find an opportunity to deal with this matter.” The Emperor coldly put down his teacup. The Great Prince had already arrived in Dongyi and had begun to deal with the rebellion of the small Liang Kingdom. The secret memorials had just arrived from Fan Xian to Jingdou. The Emperor had only glanced at it cursorily and did not think much more of it. It shouldn’t be difficult for two of his sons to handle the small matter of Dongyi.
“Scholar He has put in a great deal of effort into this,” Eunuch Yao said normally as he lowered his head.
Although his words were normal, the situation was not. Although He Zongwei had long wanted to build a good relationship with the head of the eunuchs in the palace and had invested a great deal of warmth and gold into it, for some reason, all of the eunuchs and serving girls’ affection and respect for Fan Xian came from their hearts. There was absolutely no turnaround.
Without a doubt, Eunuch Yao’s words were taking a stab at Scholar He. However, the Qing Emperor’s expression did not change. He only laughed slightly and said, “He Zongwei is also afraid of death. However, that person called Gao Da has already lived for this long, and I have given An Zhi enough face. Although, he does not seem aware that this traitor is still alive.”
Eunuch Yao suddenly said in a trembling voice, “The old Director will pass by Dazhou in three days. Please, come to a decision.”
“Let me think a bit more,” the Emperor said slowly. A sliver of exhaustion and frustration suddenly flashed through his eyes.