Joy of Life - Chapter 711 - A Commoner Facing The Emperor Alone (1)[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:50:51]
Chapter 711: A Commoner Facing The Emperor Alone (1)
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The winter snow that landed on the stone pavement melted quickly. It was very difficult for it to accumulate. The snow that landed on the bright-yellow glazed roof tiles were frozen by the cold wind, looking like countless shattered shards of clouds calmly waiting in the bright sunlight.
Fan Xian drew back his gaze that had been greedily appreciating the snow. With his hands held behind his back, he followed behind Eunuch Yao and calmly wound through the quiet and twisty ways of the palace walls. He walked toward the depth of the Royal Palace enveloped by the blood red cinnabar color. Behind the two of them, a dozen guards carefully followed them. Fan Xian had not been bound, but the edict had already labeled him as a renegade. The guards were worried that if Sir Fan junior actually caused trouble within the Palace, what power did they have to stop him?
It was clear that although many officials had died in Jingdou today and Fan Xian had even shockingly killed a scholar of the Hall of Governmental Affairs at the foot of the Royal Palace, he had no interest in acting out in the Royal Palace. Perhaps he knew that there were countless aces within these seemingly quiet palace walls. Or, perhaps he knew that the Emperor in the Royal Palace was like a mountain. Before the mountain fell, there was no purpose at all in making trouble in the Palace.
A corner of the eaves of the Taiji Palace, high above the palace walls, followed the steps of the people. Passing through a little door and walking by a branch of wintersweet laden with snow, the silent group of people came to the royal study.
Fan Xian waited quietly outside the study. Eunuch Yao glanced at him with a complicated expression and went forward to exchange some words in a low voice with Hong Zhu, who stood guard outside the door of the royal study. His expression changed slightly. He then turned and said in a low voice, “The Emperor is waiting for you at the small building.”
“Small building?” Fan Xian paused slightly, but his eyes did not land on Hong Zhu’s face. He did not dare risk using his eyes to inquire in front of all these people. Instead, he forced a smile and said, “Then, let us go there.”
Eunuch Yao waved his hand and stopped the dozen internal court guards outside the arched stone door. Alone, he led Fan Xian into the back palace.
Behind the two of them, the guards could not hide the nervousness, unease, and suspicion on their faces. Hong Zhu, who had been standing properly outside the royal study, looked at the retreating figure of Sir Fan junior as he walked into the depths of the Palace. A sense of sorrow suddenly surged into his eyes. He quickly lowered his head, terrified that someone would see something strange. However, this lowering of his head made it seem like he was seeing Fan Xian off.
The inner palace was very quiet after a snowfall. Occasionally, one would be able to hear laughter coming from various places deep in the Palace. Fan Xian’s hearing was very good. He could even hear the sound of mahjong pieces landing coming from somewhere. He couldn’t resist smiling as he thought of the things that had happened in Jingdou today had presumably not yet made their way into the Palace. Everyone was still living happily. However, the palace was usually not this lively in the past. Those women who had been chosen in the palace a few months ago, now imperial concubines, were truly youthful in years and had lightened the loneliness.
Fan Xian liked that this Royal Palace was not always cold and sinister.
The Royal Palace was very familiar to him, as familiar as home. The Emperor was waiting for him at the little building. Naturally, he knew the way. Continuing to hold his hands behind his back like a scholar, he steadily made his way toward the northwest corner of the Royal Palace. Eunuch Yao was fell behind him.
Things were already as they were. There was little use in rushing. Presumably, the Emperor would also not be in a rush. It just so happened that the Palace was very big, the air was cold, and there was snow on the trees, lakes, and rock gardens. It was much prettier compared to the winter scene inside the Palace. Fan Xian took the opportunity to take an extra look. As he walked step by steady step, the gaze of Eunuch Yao behind him took on a different emotion.
Eunuch Yao sensed that Sir Fan junior was adjusting his breathing in front of him and was using the connection between his body and surroundings to raise his realm to a sensitive and abundant level. Eunuch Yao’s head dropped even lower. He knew why Sir Fan junior was taking each step slowly and adjusting his breathing.
They walked by the winter garden, around the rock garden, and onto the wooden trestlework. As he was about the pass the winter lake and the snow pavilion, which he had once talked for a long time with the Emperor in, Fan Xian suddenly stopped his steps and narrowed his eyes slightly.
There was someone by the snow pavilion. There were a few eunuchs and serving girls, accompanied a noble-looking woman admiring the snow. Perhaps there was a warming stove lit in the pavilion, but that noblewoman still wore a precious and warm sable coat. After a pause, Fan Xian smile and continued toward the pavilion. He had not thought that he would be able to run into a concubine in the Palace in such cold weather.
Entering the Palace, he would not go see Yi Guipin or Lady Ning and Lady Shu in the Cold Palace. He was even purposely avoiding them. Thus, he had chosen this path across the lake. Unexpectedly, he still ran into someone. Naturally, he would not avoid them. Following behind him, Eunuch Yao would not dare to speak out to have him choose another path.
When the two of them entered the pavilion, the people in the pavilion were surprised. It was clear they had not thought an outsider would enter the Palace at this time. A sharp-eyed serving girl saw Eunuch Yao with his head bowed behind Fan Xian and quickly half-crouched in greeting. Silently, she guessed the identity of the young man in the lead.
Fan Xian stood inside the pavilion also feeling confused. He thought, It had only been a few months, how come there was a different batch of serving girls in the Palace that he didn’t recognize? As he thought this, his gaze landed unconsciously on the concubine sitting in the pavilion. His gaze did not move for a long time.
This concubine was about 15 or 16 and appeared young and pretty. She was fully adorned with pins. Her makeup was formal, and her clothing was sumptuous, forcefully emanating an air of nobility and pride. There was a sense of pride that could not be suppressed in her eyes. Looking at Eunuch Yao, she asked, “Has the Emperor had lunch?”
Eunuch Yao did not reply and only smiled. He thought, Playing the role of a favored concubine favor right now was truly not a good decision. The people in the pavilion immediately felt that things were strange. Particularly after noticing the young man’s gaze, she felt incomparably angry and wondered to herself where such a scoundrel had come from.
Fan Xian stared in a daze at this concubine’s slightly raised abdomen. Although she wore thick furs outside, it would still be seen clearly. He immediately knew that the noblewoman sitting in the pavilion in front of him admiring the snow was the presently favored Lady Mei. It was this woman who was pregnant with the Emperor’s child.
There was a deathly silence in the pavilion. Fan Xian calmly stared at Lady Mei’s abdomen for a long, long time. The expressions in his eyes were complicated. However, such naked attention on the Emperor’s woman, particularly at this position, was very rude.
“Where did this scoundrel come from? Where are your shifty eyes looking?” A rather young serving girl stared at Fan Xian and criticized in a sharp voice. It looked like as if she was going to come forward and slap him in the face. This serving girl was one Lady Mei had brought in from outside the Palace. Recently, her mistress had risen because of her child. The servant had risen because of her mistress, so she was very arrogant and proud in the Palace. Even the mistress of Shufang Palace had to ask after her gently, thus nurturing an arrogant air. She had never seen a man like Fan Xian in the Palace before.
Fan Xian’s eyes narrowed. He watched as the angry serving girl came over and did not move at all.
Eunuch Yao’s heart chilled. He had been by the Emperor’s side these few days and had not given much attention to the matters in the back of the palace. He had not thought that the people by Lady Mei’s side had become so domineering and brash.
The sound of a crisp slap rang out. Eunuch Yao floated forward and viciously slapped the serving girl to the ground. He quickly drew his hands back into his sleeves and returned to stand behind Fan Xian. In a low voice, he humbly said, “Sir Fan junior, the Emperor is still waiting for you.”
Fan Xian glanced at him with a smile and said, “Why are you so nervous? Afraid that I’ll kill her?”
Eunuch Yao smiled simple-mindedly and did not say anything. He thought, You’ve been adjusting your breathing every step and the killing intention in your body has long reached a peak, all sealed in your body without a single leak. If you actually did run into a trigger, the anger of a ninth-level martial artist was not something just anyone could endure.
The serving girl was knocked unconscious to the ground. A trickle of blood flowed from the corner of her lips. The air inside the pavilion seemed to congeal together. Lady Mei stared dumbfounded at this scene, almost delirious with anger. She could not understand why Eunuch Yao, the head eunuch of the internal court, would do something like this. Who was this young man who dared to not lower his head to her and even stare at her so rudely?
Only a few eunuchs and serving girls at the side heard the identity Eunuch Yao had purposely highlighted in his conversation. They finally knew that the young man who had entered the Palace alone was the Sir Fan junior the seniors in the Palace never forgot to warn them about. They immediately lowered their heads nervously, not daring to look directly at him.
Fan Xian calmly looked at the angry Lady Mei and said, after a pause, “It’s freezing outside. Go back to your Palace. It would be better to play mahjong. If catch an illness out here, it won’t be good for the child in your belly. Don’t think that the Emperor will find you a bit prettier seeing you in this snow pavilion, and don’t count on him being tender toward you. Living in this Palace is actually very simple. It’s better to be well-behaved.”
His gaze landed on Lady Mei’s abdomen again. He couldn’t help giving a bitter smile as he shook his head. He thought, It hasn’t been very long, how could she already be showing? It seemed the Emperor was indeed powerful in all aspects. He just didn’t know if the child in her belly was his younger brother or sister.
“I hope you can give me a younger sister, I don’t have a sister yet.” Fan Xian very seriously and sincerely wished her well. He then went around the people below the snow pavilion, walked onto the wooden trestlework by the lake, and headed toward the northwest corner of the Palace.
With unusual difficulty, Lady Mei stopped herself from crying. Angry and helpless emotions accumulated in her heart. She unconsciously turned her head and glanced at Fan Xian’s retreating figure. She involuntarily shivered. In the end, she was nothing more than a 15-or-16-year-old girl. After she realized his identity from his last words, she involuntarily felt afraid. Ever since she became pregnant with the Emperor’s child, she had felt proud and sacred because she knew what the child in her belly meant for the one in Shufang Palace and for this outside official surnamed Fan.
She did not think Fan Xian’s last words were a blessing. She only heard them as a warning. It did not occur to her that Fan Xian truly hoped that she would be able to give birth to a princess. After all, if she gave birth to a prince, he may spend his entire life sunken into the dark conflict, never to rise again.
Lady Mei looked with slight fear at the figure disappearing into the snow. The fear in her eyes gradually became dissatisfaction and hate.
The Qing Emperor was not in the little building. He was in front of a large abandoned palace in the northwest corner of the Royal Palace watching that little building. Here, there were very few palaces and the winter garden was quiet. There were rock gardens, but they had long fallen into disrepair seemingly unrepaired for many years. Compared to the Cold Palace in the other direction, it seemed even colder.
In front of a patch of overgrown grass, Eunuch Yao quietly retreated. Alone, Fan Xian looked at the bright-yellow figure between the little building and the long grass and quietly walked over. Standing slightly to the back, just like they had by the seaside in Danzhou that year, he silently watched the little building with him.
This pair of ruler and official, father and son, were not silent for too long. The Emperor placed his hands behind him and calmly observed the little building. His thin lips raised slightly as he lightly asked, “You saw Lady Mei earlier?”
“Yes.” Fan Xian’s hands were also behind his back. Hearing the Emperor’s question, he answered steadily.
“Do you think it’s a boy or girl?” the Emperor asked. The scenario at this time felt very strange. They had been in a cold war for months. Countless people under heaven had died because of their cold war, yet in their meeting now, there was none of the anger and criticism outsiders’ expected. There was only casual conversation.
“It should be a princess.”
“Oh? I have always known you were well-learned, but I had no idea you knew such womanly matters,” the Emperor said mockingly, the corners of his lips twitching up slightly.
“I don’t know everything, but I do have some understanding of medicine. Most importantly, the one in Lady Fei’s womb can only be a princess,” Fan Xian respectfully replied.
“Hm…” the Emperor’s brows gradually furrowed and he coldly said, “In your opinion, I can’t raise someone better than the Third Prince?”
“No,” Fan Xian replied bluntly. “Lady Mei cannot compare to Yi Guipin.”
The Emperor was silent for a moment. He then said, “Although your words make sense, the royal family’s bloodline is lacking. Having another prince is always good.”
“If Your Majesty pities, then naturally it will be good for the Qing Kingdom to have a few more princes.” Fan Xian did not say what he should pity. Instead, he narrowed his eyes slightly and straightforwardly said, “Otherwise, if it’s another Chengqian or Chengze, there’s not much point.”
With these words, the Emperor’s expression immediately darkened. Fan Xian had brought up the Crown Prince and the Second Prince. Although these two princes tragic end had been single-handedly manipulated by him, it had to be said that the Emperor’s raising of these sons had taken an overly ruthlessly and wrong route. Concerning this point, it was impossible that the gradually aging Emperor was not touched by it in the slightest.
Fan Xian stood behind the Emperor’s melancholy figure and calmly watched each of the Emperor’s minute changes. Discovering the hidden pain deep in his heart, Fan Xian involuntarily sighed in his heart. In this world, no one was truly a god, even someone as powerful as the Emperor. After coming down from the throne, he gradually moved along the path of being a common old man.
Fan Xian had noticed all of the Qing Emperor’s changes these years. Because he knew this, he had the courage to come into the Palace and say these things to him now.
These words were like knives cutting into the Emperor’s heart. In the end, the Emperor was not He Zongwei. After just a moment, the Emperor’s expression once again became like the rock face of Dong Mountain that did not change in millennia. As gentle as jade outside, but, in reality, as sharp as a craggy rock. It was beneath his dignity to storm and rage.
“He Zongwei is dead?” the Emperor slowly asked.
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
“You thought in your manor for seven days and seven nights. I had wondered what method you would think of in order to move me. Unexpectedly, it is still such nonsense.” The Emperor shook his head and said mockingly. “You have truly disappointed me very much.”
Fan Xian smiled, ashamed, and replied, “Your Majesty is like Dong Mountain, unaffected by millennia of wind and rain. I am just a common man. No matter how I think, I cannot make something from nothing. There is a limit to man’s imagination. If it doesn’t exist in the world, one will not think of it no matter how hard one thinks.”
These words were said sincerely, and they did come from Fan Xian’s heart. Faced with the Emperor’s great skill and strategy, as well as his own incredibly powerful person, it was no easy matter to find a way to defeat him. It was indeed something that did not exist in this world.
“I thought for a long time and could not think of anything. In the end, I came to an understanding. Perhaps it is because I have been immersed in the Overwatch Council since my youth, but I am used to thinking through everything and only acting when I have a certain amount of confidence.”
Fan Xian suddenly raised his face. There was a light on his face that made one joyful. “However, it was not the same this time. I would never find the confidence. Since I could never think of a good way, why not use the simplest way?”
Three very simple words, but they contained a very deep meaning. What was the simplest way in the world? Naturally, it was to use one’s teeth to bite and one’s hands to claw like a while beast, carrying out the most primitive and bloody combat.
The words Fan Xian said was a breakthrough that happened after a defeat of the heart. A raw and careless strength that he had never demonstrated before was now demonstrated without restraint.
The Emperor suddenly calmed and turned to look at his son. It was as if he wanted to find something different in this familiar face. After a moment, the Emperor laughed. There was some admiration in the laughter.
Then, the laugh was immediately restrained. The Emperor’s voice was particularly cold as he said, “Killing officials in front of others and completely disregarding Qing law, those are the actions of an uncultivated man, not a hero.”
“Your Majesty is a wise ruler. He Zongwei was a treacherous official, so He Zongwei had to die.” Fan Xian suddenly smiled. Calmly, he spoke words that neither he nor the Emperor believed. “The people who died today were all officials of the He faction. Presumably, if it gets out of Jingdou, its impact on the world will be immense. Although He Zongwei appeared compassionate and virtuous on the surface, he secretly behaved like a scoundrel. Your Majesty is wise and powerful. One day, you discovered his evil ways. For the sake of the Qing Kingdom’s future, you used lightning-like methods to be rid of such evil. Such heroic methods, how could they be limited by Qing law?”