Joy Of Life Chapter 605
Baoyue Brothel was already a net that extended all over the world. Although various factions knew the world's largest brothel was the property of the Fan family, they had no way to control it. After all, it was a legitimate business. No countries had laws that could control it. Baoyue Brothel had good conditions. They were polite and kind to the women that worked for them, truly enjoyed by the customers, and had harmony between their labor and management. With Fan Xian's power as a support and Xia Mingji and Zhaoshang money house for financial assistance, in four short years, it had extended its reach to every place.
Although Baoyue Brothel's intelligence gathering was nowhere near as professional or powerful as the Overwatch Council's, it provided Fan Xian another source of information.
In the end, the Overwatch Council was a government intelligence agency. There was always a faint fear in Fan Xian's heart that if one day the Emperor asked him to hand over the Overwatch Council, his sight and vision would decrease greatly. For example, this secret report concerning the Great Prince confirmed the benefit of Fan Xian greatly supporting Baoyue Brothel.
As for the information on the secret report, there had not been a single mention of it in the Overwatch Council's report or even the Qinian Unit's secret report. If it hadn't been for Baoyue Brothel, Fan Xian would not know that there was another good move being played out in Jingdou.
Fan Xian knew that this could not be blamed on the Overwatch Council and Qinian Unit. It involved the face of the royal family and was a family matter of the Emperor's. Even if the governmental intelligence agency's found some information, they would not be able to report it to him before it was confirmed, particularly with the internal court and Imperial Censorate watching.
Baoyue Brothel did not care about this. Of the organizations under Fan Xian's control, Baoyue Brothel was more like the Imperial Censorate in that it had the freedom to learn through hearsay. The secret report brought up the news of the Great Prince taking on a secondary fei. It was only rumors that abruptly popped up in Jingdou.
Wind through empty caves may not be without reason. Fan Xian furrowed his brows and thought of what was happening in Jingdou.
If it was just the Great Prince taking on a secondary fei, it would be a small matter. There was no need for him to be so nervous. But, the Baoyue Brothel's report clearly said that taking on a secondary fei was the decision of the Palace. The Great Prince did not know of this. Furthermore, it said that the Great Prince held powerful conflicting emotions about this matter and had already entered the Palace to argue with the Emperor twice.
Fan Xian's head hurt a great deal. He knew what kind of person his eldest brother was. Although the Great Prince knew to look at the big picture, he was very stubborn when it came to matters that involved his personal life. Additionally, he and the Great wangfei were harmonious in their affection. How could he agree for the Palace to appoint him another wedding?
The Palace wanting him to take on a secondary fei carried a deeper layer of meaning. Fan Xian was also very clear about this point.
After the Jingdou rebellion incident had truly been quelled, and the Emperor had re-discovered his love for his eldest son, he did not send the Great Prince to the border troops as a full authority Commander. Rather, he secretly prepared for the Great Prince to take a secondary fei.
The Great wangfei was a Great princess from Northern Qi. The honeymoon period between the Qing Kingdom and Northern Qi had already come to an end. For the sake of future battles, the Emperor would not allow his eldest son to be managed so tightly by a Northern Qi woman. When it came to the final Northern Expedition, the Great Prince was the best choice for Commander of the vanguard. The Emperor's intentions were clear. First, he was going to have him take on a secondary fei. Then, he would find an excuse to depose the Great wangfei.
The intention was clear. Unfortunately, none of the Emperor's sons were obedient. The Great Prince had never been an obedient person, so he had been able to resist it for two years. Looking at Baoyue Brothel's message, the Palace was going to bring this matter into the light and speak directly on the subject to settle it.
Fan Xian hugged his knees as his head ached. He was angry and had great objections in his heart toward the Great Prince. He thought, Since the Emperor was already pushing this hard, just accept it for now. What are you afraid of? Did it have to come to the Emperor passing an edict and then you going into the Palace to declare you would rather die than submit?
What right did the children of the royal family have in being saints of affection? The Great Prince and the Great wangfei's love marriage had signs of working together slowly and accompanying each other until old age. It made Fan Xian feel envious and wished he was as good as others.
Other than admiration, what made Fan Xian's head hurt was a message that the intelligence report secretly revealed. Although, it spoke of it obscurely. After the Emperor and Lady Ning had discussed the matter, they temporarily suppressed their anger and was thinking of having Fan Xian return to talk the Great Prince into taking on a secondary fei.
After the Jingdou rebellion and the deaths of the Crown Prince and Second Prince, the Emperor's attitude toward his remaining three sons had become much gentler. If it had been in the past and the Great Prince had forcefully resisted an edict like this, he would probably have long been put under house arrest in his manor. It was nothing like that now.
The Emperor's secret edict would probably arrive in a few days. Baoyue Brothel would have gotten the news much faster. Fan Xian hugged his head and wondered what exactly was going on. When the Northern Qi's Great Princess had come thousands of li south to marry the Great Prince, it had been him who had officiated the wedding. Four years later, was he now going to be the one to break up the marriage?
Just as he sighed earlier, the affairs of the world were difficult to predict.
Morning arrived. The sunlight streaming in from the east shone through the lonely autumn trees within the Qingzhou army's yamen. Sliced into large pieces of light, they shone clearly on the paper windows. A serving girl carrying a basin passed in front of the window and cast a shadow.
The Shadow stood quietly by Fan Xian's side, looking at his worried face without saying a single word. The best assassin in the world was used to standing quietly behind Chen Pingping or Fan Xian, becoming part of the shadows of the building or scenery. He was used to seeing the constant worries of the two masters of the Overwatch Council. He was still not used to talking to them and making plans with them. His job was to kill people. It did not include these poor, thinking matters.
After returning from the grasslands, the Shadow took off his herdsman's clothes and returned to his position by Fan Xian's side quietly. Fan Xian occasionally noticed that the best assassin in the world would periodically glance at the recovering Thirteenth Wang in the courtyard. His gaze was complicated and strange.
"I can't return to the capital right now." Fan Xian knew the Shadow was not Yan Bingyun, Deng Zi Yue, or the chatty Wang Qinian. Waiting for him to reply was an impossible matter. Rubbing the spot between his eyes, he said, "The matters in Xiliang Road have not come to an end. Plus, since the capital has not sent a message, it is not appropriate for me to rush back like this."
"This is only a small matter," the Shadow knew Commissioner Fan was looking to talk to him and said after a pause. "There is no need to worry too much."
Fan Xian shook his head and sighed. "It is not a small matter. You don't know the men of the Li family. Each is more stubborn than the last. Just take Chengqian and the Second Prince. Even faced with death, they would not give up their stubbornness and submit to the Emperor. Although the Great Prince's personality is much more magnanimous, he has a sense of the Dongyi people's love for freedom in his bones. With the Emperor pressuring him like this, who knows what terrifying response he will make?"
Without waiting for the Shadow to reply, Fan Xian continued with a face full of worry. "The Emperor, and perhaps everyone in court, seem to firmly believe one thing. If someone is not one of us, their heart is suspect. if it was not so, then it would not be the case that no one believed that the Great Prince could inherit the throne because of his half Dongyi bloodline. He was already one-half Dongyi. His wangfei was also a Northern Qi person. In the present situation, the Emperor having him depose of his wangfei was showing that he wanted to protect him and put him in an important position."
During the Jingdou rebellion, there were three officials who deserved credit: Fan Xian, Ye Zhong, and the Great Prince. At that time, the Great Prince held the Imperial Army in his hands. He controlled a vital power, yet he determinedly carried out the so-called posthumous edict of the Emperor and successfully controlled the situation of the rebellion within a boundary that the power of the Qing Kingdom could accept. Because of this matter, the Emperor's attitude toward him had changed greatly. It was no longer as indifferent as in the past.
"The Emperor feels a great deal of guilt and remorse toward the Great Prince." Fan Xian spoke as he rubbed the slightly sore spot between his brows. "That is why he wants to give compensation to the Great Prince. Speaking from the Great Prince's life goal, the best compensation would be to appoint him to the vanguard and allow him to fight for the Qing Kingdom from the South to the North, to unify the world and shine in glory on the battlefield. The Emperor has truly decided to appoint him as Commander, which is why he must depose of wangfei."
Thinking of this, he also felt some resentment toward the Emperor. The Great wangfei was a Great Princess of Northern Qi. She would indeed have an impact on the Great Prince leading a Northern Expedition as the Commander, but why did he need to resort to such lowly Palace in-fighting methods as appointing a secondary fei to resolve it? This was not the elegance that the ruler of a country should have. He was like an old man with a grudge against his son. Suddenly, his heart jumped. Had the Emperor not learned from his previous experiences and still had great suspicions? Was he was using all kinds of methods to try and nip these doubts in the bud?
Fan Xian's heart gradually became cold. He realized that he had made a mistake these years. He had still underestimated an Emperor's great desire for power and natural paranoia and coldness.
Being a son was difficult. Being the son of an Emperor was even more difficult. Being the son of the Qing Emperor was hardship piled on hardship. Fan Xian let out a troubled breath. He knew that after he returned to the capital, he would probably be unhappily caught between the Emperor and Great Prince, so he may as well not think of it for now.
He was somewhat curious about whose daughter the Emperor had appointed to the Great Prince as a Secondary fei. Which noble was so unafraid of death that he dared to deliver his own daughter into the mouths of the tigress that was the Great wangfei, the tiger that was the Great Prince, and the old mother tiger that was Lady Ning in the Palace?
Thinking of Lady Ning's merit and virtue after the rebellion, as well as the Great Prince's face, the Emperor had finally raised her rank. Late by 20 years, he finally granted her the title of Imperial Consort. After the Dongyi girl slave had become an Imperial Consort, her bold and vigorous personality did not change. She was still as ferocious as a tiger.
The Great Prince's family was a forest of tigers.
In any case, it could not be Ruoruo. Fan Xian was confident of this. Presently, the Emperor was full of trust and affection for him. He also knew that for the sake of Ruoruo's marriage, he had almost beaten Hongcheng into impotency. He would not cause conflict with him over this and face losing more than he gained.
Fan Xian stood and pushed open the door to go outside. He welcomed the courtyard full of autumn colors, no longer thinking about those annoying matters in Jingdou. It was already deep into autumn. Gazing out from the military yamen, it was full of clean and distant colors. The sky was very blue, and the clouds very light. It made one's mind open the moment one saw it.
Qingzhou was close to Xi Lake and had an atmosphere of the grasslands. Perhaps only in such a land could one nurture an open and bright state of mind, such as that strange Great Prince from the royal family and strange Ye Ling'er from a noble family.
Fan Xian smiled slightly as he looked at the girl in the courtyard. He thought to himself, Great wangfei was in a very difficult position, but the Second wangfei seemed to be gradually walking out of the shadow of the Second Prince. There were always good things happening in the world.
Thirteenth Wang's body was recovering quickly. He could now sit in the wheelchair and wander around the Qingzhou military yamen. Because of Ye Ling'er's words, Fan Xian couldn't be bothered with continuing the useless attempts to hide the secret. He summoned a few serving girls and gave them the responsibility of pushing the wheelchair. He then sent a few subordinates from the Sixth Bureau to follow along to ensure his safety.
During these dozen days, Fan Xian was busy making contact with Dingzhou and leading Xiliang Road's entire counterattack movement. He also had to carry out private exchanges with the grasslands. He was very busy and didn't pay much attention to Thirteenth Wang's movements, but he was not blind. He could see that this lonely and cold Qingzhou military yamen had gradually changed because of Thirteenth Wang's waking. Amidst the autumn garden, there was an occasional hint of spring.
When Thirteenth Wang sat in his wheelchair and rested occasionally in the garden, not far away from him would be a girl sitting and doing other things, such as embroidery, or looking at the scenery like a stupid goose.
Thirteenth Wang would become a stupid goose dazedly watching the stupid goose looking at the scenery.
Other than greeting each other when they ran into each other face-to-face, the young man and woman did not talk leisurely. They only played out their parts stupidly. They sang toward the sky but were also afraid that the gentle ripples from red claws would disturb their unintentional clear waters. [JW1]
Fan Xian was a master in the Overwatch Council, while Ye Ling'er was a master in Qingzhou. With her order, there were no longer daily trips out of the city, like in previous years, to intercept Hu harvesters who galloped out of the grasslands. She stayed properly in the military yamen and chased out all of the old troops that were in the military yamen, leaving only a cycle of serving women and girls.
Now, there was an extra scene in the little garden in Qingzhou's military yamen, it was the two stupid geese Fan Xian was quietly smiling about.
As her teacher, Fan Xian knew what kind of person Ye Ling'er was. He admitted to himself that if he was a girl, he would probably also be astonished by Thirteenth Wang's 38 knife wounds on the front of his body. It would be engraved in their heart and carved into their bones. Furthermore, Thirteenth Wang was a silent, gentle, and heroic person. How could such a person not move Ye Ling'er, who was born into the military?
Although Ye Ling'er's identity was a bit troublesome, Fan Xian did not worry about this. Two years ago, the Emperor had quietly passed an edict allowing Ye Ling'er to remarry and pick her own husband. This was a heavenly gift. As long as it was someone she liked, even if it took the Qing court, they would grab him for her.
The problem was Thirteenth Wang's identity. Although he was secretly doing things for the Overwatch Council and the Emperor knew of these matters, in the end, he was still Sigu Jian's last disciple and one of the 13 disciples of Dongyi's Sword Hut. Ye Ling'er was once the Second wangfei. If she wanted to marry an ace from Dongyi, would the Palace approve?
If Dongyi could completely lean toward the Qing Kingdom under his management, then these obstacles would not exist. Fan Xian decided to put more effort into the matter as compensation for the poor girl on behalf of the Emperor and Ye Zhong.
There was only one problem. Fan Xian looked at the two people in the garden with a smile and rubbed his nose in thought. These two were stuck in a strange situation. Someone had to expose the truth. It was not strange that Ye Ling'er would like Thirteenth Wang but what was Thirteenth Wang thinking exactly? No matter how noble Ye Ling'er identity was, she was also a widow.
He knew why Thirteenth Wang had been attracted by Ye Ling'er's profile. It had been very lonely, but Fan Xian knew that the true Ye Ling'er was not like this.
Fan Xian shuddered. Ye Ling'er actually embroidered in front of Thirteenth Wang to appear delicate and frail. If this got back to Jingdou and reached Wan'er's ears, it would probably make his wife faint with laughter.
He decided to tell Thirteenth Wang about the true Ye Ling'er so his young friend, whom he appreciated greatly, would not realize that his life was a great misunderstanding after his marriage
Just as Fan Xian was about to go down the stone steps and disturb the "condescending" young man and woman, the Shadow behind the door quietly said something. He immediately stopped his steps.
The Shadow had carefully hidden his tracks so that Thirteenth Wang would not discover anything. Fan Xian knew of the complicated relationship between the Shadow and the Sword Hut. He also knew the Shadow's true identity could not be known by anyone. Sigu Jian and the Shadow had an irreconcilable hatred. Looking at Sigu Jian's favorite disciple in the autumn garden, the Shadow's emotions were not as happy as the man and woman in the garden.
A moment later, Fan Xian said, "We will go next year spring. He won't die this early."
[JW1] This is a play on a famous Chinese poem. It doesn't make as much sense without knowing the reference.